Japan to expand use of space for defense, vow to protect satellites
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan will expand the use of outer space for its defense and ensure the safety of intelligence-gathering satellites, as China and Russia are increasingly utilizing space for military purposes, a source close to the matter said Tuesday.
Citing a draft of a document on space security, the source said Japan will also team up with the United States and boost its abilities to destroy targets in enemy territory including missile bases, known as "counterstrike capabilities."
The document, which will be the first of its kind, will be compiled this summer at the earliest and will entail measures covering the next 10 years or so.
It is in line with the government's update of its long-term policy guideline, the National Security Strategy, and two other key defense documents last December, in which it vowed to obtain counterstrike capabilities and almost double defense spending over five years.
Apparently with China in mind, the envisaged document on space security will state that "neighboring countries" have been considerably increasing their information-collecting satellites and that the race for space development and utilization has been "accelerating," according to the source.
The document will note that "threats in outer space are rapidly growing," referring to some countries developing their capabilities to destroy or disable other countries' satellites.
Against such a backdrop, Japan, together with its allies and like-minded nations, will aim to maintain stable use of and free access to outer space, the source said.
To maximize the utilization of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, Japan will further cooperate with the private sector, according to the source.
The country will also speed up information transmission by using small satellite constellations and improve its analysis of images through AI to detect Chinese hypersonic weapons and North Korean ballistic missiles, the source said.
Separately, the government will create a strategy unveiling targets for the acquisition of technologies required for space development and help support companies and their domestic production of key components, the source said.
Japan will also aim to participate in the Combined Space Operations Center in California, where the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada jointly monitor space debris.