Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday that Japan will remain part of the U.S.-led International Space Station project when it is extended until 2024, strengthening its alliance with the United States as China advances into space.

The four-year extension was proposed by the United States. Of the 15 countries participating in the ISS, Russia and Canada have already expressed their intent to remain in the project, while European members have yet to decide.

"We will faithfully implement the schedule for our basic space program and work on an aggressive space strategy," Abe said at a ministerial meeting on space development.