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Asia's Space RaceNational Motivations, Regional Rivalries, and International Risks$
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James Clay Moltz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156882

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156882.001.0001

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The Japanese Space Program

The Japanese Space Program

Moving Toward “Normalcy”

(p.43) Chapter Two The Japanese Space Program
Asia's Space Race

James Clay Moltz

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes the development of Japan's national space program, the oldest in Asia and the one with the closest ties to the United States. Historically, Japan has long been the most accomplished space power in Asia, receiving support from the Western nations after the Second World War. It has more than five decades of achievements in space science with extensive experience in human spaceflight under the direction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. However, Japan's space mandate formally excluded military space activities up until 2008, putting the country well behind leading powers in military applications and military operational experience. This all changed in 2008 when the Japanese Diet passed the Basic Space Law, which allowed military uses of space for the first time. This marks a major shift in attitudes toward space and has set off debates about the program's future direction.

Keywords:   national space program, Japan, Asia, space power, space science, Diet, Basic Space Law, military space activities, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

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