The government intends to create a space monitoring division within the Self-Defense Forces by around 2019 and the Defense Ministry has already informed the United States, a source close to the bilateral relationship said Saturday.

Initially, the force will be tasked with monitoring dangerous debris floating in Earth's orbit and with protecting satellites from collisions with such space junk, the source said.

The ministry has altered its strategy on the use of space to include the development of an observatory force along these lines, following the 2008 enactment of a law revising the principles for Japan's nonmilitary activities in space.