Japan Boosts Space Spending, Missile Warning System Top Priority

Space News has a detailed report about Japan’s new Basic Plan for Space Policy, which sharply raises the nation’s space spending and alters its basic direction:

Japan’s new fundamental space policy, released June 2, places national security front and center over the next five years, opening the door for development of a space-based missile warning system and other military satellites while providing funding for space science efforts.

The 44-page Basic Plan for Space Policy, released by the Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy (SHSP) in the prime minister’s Cabinet Office, recommends that 2.5 trillion yen ($26 billion) be budgeted for various military and civil space development activities from 2010 through 2014. Currently Japan spends roughly 300 billion yen annually on space activity.

Mandated by last year’s Basic Law for Space Activities, which formally allowed Japan to use space for national security purposes, the policy details Japan’s space utilization and development plan until mid-2014 and makes a tentative outline through 2020, Hirohisa Mori, senior coordinator at the SHSP, said via e-mail June 3.

Japan is deeply worried about North Korea’s ballistic missile tests, which overfly its territory. Although a formal decision isn’t expected until December, the missile defense system is seen as a sure thing.

The budget also boosts funding for JAXA to build a number of satellites, including ones for scientific purposes and GPS navigation.

Read the full story.