Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 February 10 - 16  > Gov't will mobilize JAXA for 'space war' promotion
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2021 February 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

Gov't will mobilize JAXA for 'space war' promotion

February 14, 2021
The Japanese government is planning to deploy long-range standoff cruise missiles with the capability to attack enemy bases, in the southwest island region under the pretext of "defense of Japanese territorial islands". In the plan, development of "hypersonic guided-missiles", capable of accelerating more than five times the speed of sound, is included. The government intends to have the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) engage in this development, stirring up concern over "militarization" of JAXA and the possibility of Japan's participation in "war in outer space".

The Defense Ministry explains that the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency made a research cooperation agreement with JAXA in 2016 on the development of hypersonic guided-missiles, and that the research is planned to be completed in 2025.

Hypersonic guided-missiles can break through the barriers of U.S.-led "ballistic missile defense" and deliver attacks while flying at low altitudes at hyper-velocities. The United States is speeding up their development to outpace China and Russia. Hypersonic guided-missiles will be major weaponry in the next generation of "missile warfare".

SDF airman stationed in JAXA

Focusing on outer space as the next battle zone, the U.S. administration in December 2019 organized a "space force" as a separate military branch. Keeping up with the U.S. move, Japan's Air SDF also created a "space operation unit" in May 2020.

The space operation unit will engage in space situational awareness (SSA) as its primary mission. In space, there exists an increasing number of space debris produced by anti-satellite missile tests in addition to non-operational artificial satellites. The space operation unit will monitor the space situation in order to prevent debris from crashing into satellites. It will also keep an eye on adversarial countries' space activities.

Regarding SSA, JAXA shares its know-how with the SDF. According to the Defense Ministry, it entered into a cooperation agreement with JAXA in 2017, and an Air SDF official is stationed full time at JAXA's Tsukuba Space Center (Ibaraki Pref.) "to garner insights" based on this agreement.

The Cabinet Office, a control tower for Japan's space policy, says, "The United States is placing expectations on its allies, including Japan, in regard to the sharing of space infrastructure which contributes to security and civilian use." Japan is the fourth largest satellite possessing nation in the world. The government is seeking to utilize these resources for military purposes.

Past related article:
> Civil group opposing military-academia cooperation urges JAXA to never again participate in arms trade expositions [December 18, 2019]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved