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.
Japan will provide the U.S. military with information obtained in the envisaged operation while seeking to strengthen bilateral cooperation in space, the source said.
According to the source, the ministry plans to operate the force via radar and telescope facilities in Okayama Prefecture acquired from Japan Space Forum, a Tokyo-based think tank that coordinates aerospace-related activities among industry, government and academic entities.
Full article: Japan to create SDF space monitoring division by 2019 (The Japan Times)