Japan to boost space cooperation with US in revised policy

Japan plans to step up defense cooperation with the United States in space and improve its ability to detect and track missiles in response to what it called a growing threat from North Korea and China

The revised policy is be adopted by the Cabinet on Tuesday.

Japan aims to double the scale of its space industry from the current 1.2 trillion yen ($11 billion) by the early 2030s.

Abe has pushed for Japan’s Self-Defense Force to expand its international role and capability by bolstering cooperation and weapons compatibility with the U.S., as it increasingly works alongside American troops amid concerns about the increasing capabilities of China and North Korea.

Japan launched a new space defense unit in May to monitor and counter threats to the country’s satellites.

The Space Operations Squadron, part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, started with 20 members and is expected to grow to about 100 once it is fully operational in 2023.

The launch of the squadron comes amid growing Japanese concern that China and Russia are seeking ways to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.

The squadron will cooperate with the U.S. Space Command that President Donald Trump established last year, as well as Japan’s space exploration organization, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.


Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi