Japan Space Plan Calls for Doubling Space Budget, Missile Defense

The Japan Times has an editorial today in which it discusses the major changes in Japanese space activities that will result under the government’s new space plan:

The draft calls for increasing the number of information- gathering satellites from three currently to four within five years and developing advanced sensors and cameras for early- warning satellites in a geostationary orbit to detect a ballistic missile launch….

The fiscal 2009 budget allocates some ¥350 billion for space programs, 10 percent more than in fiscal 2008. The draft says that, in five years, annual spending must be more than double the current spending. For example, it calls for launching 34 satellites in the next five years, more than twice the number of the past five years.

The newspaper expresses concerns that missile defense could raise tensions in the area, and it recommends deepening diplomatic efforts. It also raised concerns that the fast rise in spending will result in wasteful spending.

Read the full editorial.