Japan and the United States will include cooperation in outer space in their new defense cooperation guidelines, a government official said Sunday.
The current guidelines, revised in 1997, are based on assumed contingencies on the Korean Peninsula and have no reference to bilateral defense cooperation in space.
The new guidelines to be compiled by the end of this year will provide for greater cooperation by taking into account such matters as the use of satellites to monitor North Korean missile launches and Chinese activities in the airspace over the East China Sea, according to the official.
Japan and the United States agreed in their so-called two-plus-two meeting of foreign and defense ministers in 2013 to revise their defense cooperation guidelines again. They have already started working-level talks on the issue.
Last month, for the first time in six years, the Defense Ministry convened the Committee for Promotion of Outer Space Development and Use, which had been dormant, for detailed discussions on the bilateral cooperation in space.
The two sides assume transfers of what the U.S. global positioning system detects on activities by North Korea and China to Japan’s satellite system.
The Defense Ministry plans to launch a new satellite capable of high-speed, large-volume data transmission in fiscal 2015 because two of its three communications satellites will reach the end of their operating lives during that year.
It will also accelerate research, conducted jointly with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, on a satellite with infrared sensors which can detect missile launches.
Furthermore, the ministry will share information with the United States on space debris which could cause major damage to satellites.