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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 June 3 - 9  > Government space program goes against Article 9
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2009 June 3 - 9 [POLITICS]

Government space program goes against Article 9

June 3, 2009
Japan’s new basic plan for space development marks a departure from the existing “non-military” policy.

The basic plan, which the government approved on June 2, will pave the way for the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces to use satellites and other civilian technologies for military purposes in flagrant violation of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

The government's space development strategy headquarters headed by Prime Minister Aso Taro compiled the plan, which marks a major shift in policy, from one of emphasizing “research and development” to one of “utilizing” it. The plan includes the “strengthening of security by utilizing space technologies” and “fostering strategic industries” along with four other basic directions.

The task force estimates the cost for the implementation of the basic plan to be 2.5 trillion yen and is funded by the public and private sectors.

Last year, the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and Democratic Party of Japan used their force of majority to enact the basic law for space development after only four hours of discussion in the Diet.

The Japanese Communist Party opposed the bill because the use of space development for security purposes would turn Japan’s space development for peaceful purposes to gear it up for arms buildup.

JCP member of the House of Representatives Yoshii Hidekatsu said that the new basic plan goes hand in hand with the basic law for space development.

He said, “It is necessary to further develop space science and improve people’s living conditions. However, it is unacceptable to use tax money for programs providing constructors with new business opportunities relying on military contracts under the name of space development.

He also said, “Japan’s space development for peaceful purposes has been acclaimed for its asteroid probe and astronomy satellites internationally. I am afraid that researchers might be mobilized to develop military satellites or face restrictions on their presentation of research findings, and that Japan may lose its trust by causing international concern about military purposes of Japanese research. This will hamper Japan’s science technologies from further developing, I believe.”

He stressed the need to make known to the public how dangerous the basic plan is. “To strictly comply with pacifist principles of the Constitution is what the Japanese space program should do,” he added.
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