• Kyodo


As China readies for its first manned spaceflight, its space program has reached a level where it could contribute valuable observation data to an Asia-Pacific satellite network covering environmental and natural disaster issues, a Japanese official said.

But to work with China in space, Japan would need assurances that the space program is not for military use.

Chinese officials have said via state media that the 11-year-old Shenzhou program is also for scientific research and environmental protection, saying the launch could possibly contribute to a future regional satellite network.

Chinese aerospace authorities will launch the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft from Gansu Province on Oct. 15, weather permitting. It will carry one or two astronauts and orbit the Earth for about six days, according to Chinese media.

While Japan has no specific agenda for cooperating with China in space, it would in principle welcome observation data, the official said.

“We need to forge some kind of meaningful cooperation” with China and other Asia-Pacific nations, he said.

Japan would mostly be interested in working with Asia-Pacific countries on satellites, the official said, noting that Japanese satellites use a “high level of technology” but “the accumulation of technology is insufficient.”

Cooperation with China and its neighbors should focus on sharing data to forecast natural disasters, he said.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.