Japan's ambition to militarize space deserves vigilance

China Military Online
Li Weichao
2023-06-12 19:21:51

By ZiGe

The Space Policy Committee of the Japanese Cabinet released Japan's first draft concept involving space security policy – Space Security Plan (hereinafter referred to as the plan). The plan emphasizes strengthening cooperation with allied countries and building a space security system by resorting to the technology of private enterprises.

It is reported that the plan mainly studies the policies and measures in the field of space security and forms the framework for the construction of Japan's space security system in the next 10 years. It provides framework guidance for the horizontal linkage of various government departments. The draft will be discussed and approved this month at a meeting of the Strategic Headquarters for Space Development, with Fumio Kishida as the head.

The plan analyzes Japan's space security environment and proposes medium- and long-term construction goals and specific measures to achieve them. The concept emphasizes the establishment of a space security system in line with Japan's interests to ensure more secure use of space in the future.

In terms of threat research and judgment, the plan indicates that space has become a new arena for the competition of military capabilities, and points out that Japan's neighboring countries have significantly increased the number of reconnaissance satellites, which leads to increasing threats to Japan in the space field. In this regard, the plan proposes three major construction paths. First, form wide-area, high-frequency and high-precision intelligence collection capabilities for space, strengthen satellite communication security, and improve capabilities of missile threat response, satellite navigation, and space transportation. Second, improve the capabilities to detect, track and identify space targets, promote the recycling of spacecraft, increase the response speed and capability to satellite attacks, and participate in the formulation of international space safety rules. Third, achieve a virtuous cycle of security support and space industry development, which includes the improvement of autonomous space technology research and development capabilities and the enhancement of the status and role of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The plan formulates in detail the roadmap for the development of the space security system from 2023 to 2034 and clarifies the number and plans of satellite launches in the next 10 years. The plan focuses on building a Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) to improve the capabilities of identifying and tracking space targets. At present, the US GPS satellite network only needs 24 satellites to achieve global coverage, so the strength of the QZSS navigation system with 11 satellites cannot be underestimated.

Japan has made frequent moves in the space field in recent years. The establishment of the Space Operation Squadron in May 2020, the substantial increase in space-related budgets year by year, and the formulation of the security plan this time all highlight Japan's ambition to continue to promote the militarization of space.

The concept continues to exaggerate space threats, claiming that Japan will work with its allies to maintain the so-called "stable use and free access to space" and suggesting that Japan join the Combined Space Operations Center led by the US, the UK and Australia. Some analysts pointed out that Japan has unscrupulously created threats in space in the name of responding to space threats, which deserves attention and vigilance.

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