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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 June 13 - 19  > Bill to remove peaceful use of space from JAXA law approved
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2012 June 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Bill to remove peaceful use of space from JAXA law approved

June 15 & 16, 2012
On June 16, a series of bills which pave the way to the use of space for military purposes were passed through the House of Representatives after only a 2-hour discussion and were then sent to the Upper House.

The bills include measures to make adverse changes in laws related to Japan’s space policy such as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) law. The Japanese Communist and the Social Democratic parties opposed the passage.

If the bills are enacted, the required peaceful use of space will disappear from the JAXA law and a new organ promoting space strategy under the Cabinet Office will be established to replace the current Space Activities Commission under the education and technology ministry. Members of the new organ will be appointed by the government without Diet approval.

On the previous day at a meeting of the House of Representatives Cabinet Committee, JCP lawmaker Yoshii Hidekatsu criticized the bills.

Yoshii pointed out that if the requirement for the use of space for peaceful purposes is erased from the JAXA law, various restrictions under the guise of national security will be imposed on research and the organization of the JAXA. The JAXA accomplished great achievements in the space science field, including its success with the space probe “Hayabusa”.

Pointing out that the bill to review the JAXA law enables the defense minister to fill the post as a chief of space development, Yoshii said, “The Japanese Self-Defense Forces will be able to use JAXA to develop military satellites.”

Science and Technology Minister Furukawa Motohisa in his reply admitted that this is correct.

Assistant professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and also representative of a civic group against the revision of the JAXA law, Tarao Mitsunori stated, “I am disappointed at the quick passage of the revision without proper discussions. However, I expect more careful deliberations in the Upper House. In order to scrap the revision bill, I will inform many people of its dangers.”
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