Tokyo, Nov. 5 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday approved a bill to allow private businesses to own mineral and other samples collected outside Earth.
The LDP will consult with the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and others, with a view to submitting the bill during the ongoing parliamentary session.
The bill calls for allowing space resources to be owned by those who collected them, based on exploration plans submitted in advance to the prime minister.
Amid growing competition in the field of space development, the Japanese bill is designed to encourage domestic companies to enter the field.
Laws to allow such ownership have been already established in the United States, Luxemburg and the United Arab Emirates, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Nonetheless, there are no international rules on rights related to space resources at the moment, discouraging private businesses from engaging in space development, they said.
“By preparing a domestic law first, we aim for Japan to lead talks to create international rules,” LDP lawmaker Takayuki Kobayashi, who was involved in drawing up the bill, told reporters.