Japan and the United States agreed Tuesday to equip Japanese satellites with U.S. sensors to monitor space debris as part of their security cooperation in outer space.
It is the first time Japan has agreed to carry equipment from another country on its satellites for defense purposes, the Foreign Ministry said.
Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Joseph Young, charge d’affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, exchanged notes based on a bilateral defense assistance agreement.
U.S. space situational awareness sensors will be mounted on Japan’s two Michibiki quasi-zenith satellites to be launched in the fiscal year starting in April 2023, the ministry said.
Japan and the United States see outer space and cyberspace as new domains where they need to strengthen coordination as China and Russia are building up their capabilities.
The Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation updated in 2015 say the two nations will “enhance space situational awareness cooperation” by sharing information about actions and events that might affect the safety and stability of the space domain and impede its use.
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