Hayabusa’s Haul Could Help JAXA to Avoid Cutbacks

Gov’t cost-cutting panel recommends maintaining space project budget
Mainichi Daily News

The government’s cost-cutting panel, tasked with identifying wasteful public projects, recommended on Nov. 18 that current budget allocations for space projects be maintained.

The recommendation comes just days after the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed particles contained in a capsule from the space probe Hayabusa — which returned from the Itokawa asteroid in June — were extraterrestrial.

The panel deliberated intensively on the funding of JAXA as its project costs, estimated to balloon from 180 billion yen this fiscal year to 266 billion yen in fiscal 2013.

“The agency has played an important role in developing science and technology on a global scale as a result of its achievements, including the success of the Hayabusa project,” said Kumiko Hayashi, parliamentary secretary for the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry who spoke on behalf of JAXA, at the outset of the session in Tokyo. She then told the panel that JAXA has suspended all new projects but Hayabusa’s successor, Hayabusa 2.

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Editor’s Note: The proposed budget would increase by nearly 48 percent by FY 2013. That’s a pretty significant increase.