The Ministry of Defense (MOD) will establish a second space operations squadron in FY2022 to reinforce the Air Self-Defense Force’s existing space unit. The second squadron will be tasked with monitoring interference in Japan’s satellite activities. The ministry will also establish a new outpost of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s electronic warfare unit at the GSDF’s Sendai base (Satsuma Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture) to strengthen defense of the Nansei Islands. The new GSDF unit will engage in disrupting enemy communications and radars. A ministry source disclosed the information on Aug. 22. Budget for the new units will be included in the ministry’s FY2022 budget request.
China and Russia are boosting their capabilities in space, cyber, and electromagnetic waves, which are often called the new domains of security. The MOD is poised to accelerate its effort to improve SDF units in these areas.
Satellites are indispensable for ascertaining location data as well as sending and receiving relevant images. Interference in satellite communications and the malfunction of satellites would have a grave impact on the operations of SDF units. The second space operations squadron will monitor interference using electromagnetic waves. Together with the first squadron launched in FY2020 to keep watch on space debris, the second squadron will enhance Japan’s overall capacity to monitor outer space.
The MOD budget request also includes funding to set up facilities for electronic warfare units at Camp Yonaguni (Yonaguni-cho, Okinawa Prefecture) and Camp Tsushima (Tsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture). The ministry hopes to complete them in FY2023 to address issues arising from China’s aggressive expansion in the areas near the Nansei Islands and in the East China Sea.