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National government strengthens efforts to develop space industry

  • 2015-01-12 15:00:00
  • , Yomiuri
  • Translation

(Yomiuri: January 10, 2015 – p. 2)

 

 The national government finalized on Jan. 9 the new “Basic Plan on Space Policy” that focuses on security and industrial promotion. The plan stresses the enhancement of intelligence capabilities by using satellites and sets a target of allocating “5 trillion yen for the next 10 years for projects by both the government and the private sector.” However, the plan lacks measures on the field of basic science.

 

 The new plan formulated by the government’s Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy (led by PM Abe) puts forward the government’s space policy for the next 10 years beginning in FY2015. Due to changing security circumstances around Japan, PM Abe ordered in September last year a review of the current plan that was designed to cover five years from 2013.

 

 Under the new plan, the number of “quasi-zenith satellites” needed for high-precision positional information systems (the Japanese version of GPS) will be increased from the current one to seven, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will work in cooperation with the Defense Ministry. The new plan also calls for discussions on improving the functionality of “information-gathering satellites” for reconnaissance and the need for “early-warning satellites” to monitor missile launches.

 

 However, the new plan barely mentions new business fields such as planetary exploration and manned space development. As for extending the period for participating in the International Space Station (ISS), it only states that “the final conclusion will be made by the end of FY2016.” (Abridged)

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