Japan’s new basic space plan and its implication to Japan-India cooperation

The Cabinet of Abe Administration has adopted a new Basic Space Plan on June 30. The Basic Space Plan is supposed to be mid- to long-term plan for Japan’s space activities with budgetary implications. This is the fourth Basic Space Plan since 2009 (average life expectancy is three years), which seems to be odd for the mid-term plan. It is largely because the change of government in 2012 has let a new Plan in 2013, and then new security-related legislation established in 2015 required to have a greater role of space, the plan was amended in 2015. This suggests that Japanese space strategy is still in a transitional period and subjected to the change of national grand strategy. In other words, Japanese space plan is flexibly meeting the needs from its strategic decision.

The new Basic Space Plan has a broader aim to achieve “autonomous space utilization power”. Although the Plan is a programmatic spending plan, the focus on this Plan is not how much the government spends on which technology or satellites. Instead, it aims to make space contributing to achieving national goals such as maintaining and strengthening the alliance and expanding space utilization which would lead to technological development. Especially, the Plan proposes international collaboration for building mega-constellation for early-warning satellites as a complementary program for the US SBIRS (Space-Based Infrared System) for detecting missile launch.

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