• Kyodo

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The government is accelerating improvements in the Self-Defense Forces’ outer space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum capabilities in the face of Chinese and Russian military buildups.

Together with the conventional land, sea and air domains, having advantages in the new fields is “crucially important” for the SDF to ensure effective communication capabilities and troop deployments, as well as to better grasp locations of enemy troops and assets, according to a senior SDF official.

In March, an 80-member electronic warfare unit that detects and analyzes naval and airborne communications, as well as radar emissions from neighboring countries, was launched at a Ground Self-Defense Force base in the southwestern city of Kumamoto. The unit is also responsible for disrupting enemy communications and radar if called upon.

Five other similar units are scheduled to be set up, with their headquarters at Camp Asaka in the Tokyo metropolitan area, by March 2022.

The Defense Ministry is also developing a standoff electronic warfare aircraft designed to jam enemy radar.

As for the Space Operations Squadron, a new organization will be established this fiscal year to lead a team of some 70 members, expanded from approximately 20 people who are currently commissioned to monitor space debris and suspicious satellites.

The squadron was launched last year at Fuchu Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo as part of the Air Self-Defense Force.

A space surveillance radar is under construction in Yamaguchi Prefecture and is expected to be operational in fiscal 2023.

In the cybersecurity domain, the ministry plans to establish a corps of around 540 members by consolidating experts from the GSDF, the ASDF and the Maritime Self-Defense Force along with new recruits from the private sector next March.

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