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On May 18, about six months after the United States established the Space Force, Japan launched a new Space Operations Squadron. These moves by the two allies reflect the importance that each country attaches to outer space given its key role for information technology, military strategy, and the economy.

The U.S. and Japanese actions in outer space are also unfolding in the larger context of intensifying strategic competition. Alongside its broader "Belt and Road" initiative, China has been taking measures to develop a “Space Silk Road,” expanding its global space network while promoting space cooperation with developing countries.

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