Japan’s Space Law Revision: the Next Step Toward Re-Militarization?

Japan’s Space Law Revision: the Next Step Toward Re-Militarization?

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Manuel Manriquez

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Introduction: Japan's Space Policy Revision

Japan is among a number of key Asian nations currently expanding their presence in space. China and India in particular seem likely to continue on a steady course of space development as they pursue various space missions and space technology developments. Furthermore, many such projects potentially feature military applications. In this context, the future of Japan's space development appears tentative. The nation's insufficient space program budget and restrictive defense-related space policies have prevented Japan from developing advanced reconnaissance satellites (useful for detecting ballistic missile launches) with image resolutions greater than those of commercial earth surveillance satellites. [1] A joint project team on space law comprised of Diet (Japanese Parliament) members from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito Party have engaged in an intensive study of current space law and drafted the Basic Space Bill in order to remove legal obstacles to advanced military space development, military management of space programs, and the exportation of some currently restricted space technologies. The LDP and New Komeito ruling coalition introduced the bill in June 2007 during the Diet's ordinary session. Since this time, the ruling coalition has sought opposition party cooperation on enacting the space law revision. [2]

This report examines the security-related aspects of the ruling coalition's Basic Space Bill, the legal framework of Japan's current interpretation of international space law and the state of Japan's reconnaissance satellite program. It will also explore the security threats motivating Japanese leaders to revise the nation's space use policy and it will highlight the concerns of Japan's main regional competitors regarding the broadening of the nation's military space activities. Finally, the report will track Japan's progress toward becoming a "normal country" under the guidance of various "reformist" leaders and assess the current challenges this progress faces in light of the new domestic political landscape.

The Ruling Coalition's Basic Space Bill

On June 20, 2007, 11 members of Japan's LDP/New Komeito ruling coalition submitted the Basic Space Bill to the lower house of parliament. The bill, if passed, would allow Japan's Self Defense Forces (SDF) to have direct control of the nation's reconnaissance satellites (referred to as information gathering satellites or IGS by Japanese officials) and to elevate the capability of Japan's satellite programs from the relatively low level commercial technology currently in use to high-precision satellite technology more suitable for military applications. [3] In return for its support of the LDP's space law revision proposal, junior coalition partner New Komeito requested that the bill include the phrase "based on the pacifist principle of Japan's Constitution." [4]

As currently drafted, the Basic Space Bill would establish a national Space Strategy Headquarters with the purpose of advancing "comprehensive space-related policies." The draft proposal is based on three main pillars: 1) reinforcing Japan's security through the development and utilization of space; 2) promoting space-related research and development; and 3) promoting the development of Japan's space industry. [5] Although overall security policy, research/development and the space industry are intertwined, this report primarily addresses the bill's implications for Japan's military use of space policy and progress toward re-militarization. In this context, the Basic Space Bill features two significant articles:

  • Draft Article 2 "provides that space development and use shall be conducted in accordance with international treaties and other international commitments including the Outer Space Treaty, and pursuant to the spirit of the peaceful principle of the Constitution of Japan;" and
  • Draft Article 14 requires the government to take "necessary measures to promote space development and use" that would promote both national and international security. [6]

Japanese lawmakers who support the draft bill claim that it will not violate international standards on the peaceful use of outer space. The carefully worded language in the bill allows the military use of space for strictly defensive purposes and removes the current restriction imposed by Japan's interpretation of international space law, making the space use policy "non-aggressive" rather than "non-military". [7] The Basic Space Bill, then, is a comprehensive approach that could open the door for Japan to militarize space more openly and with the direct involvement of the nation's Ministry of Defense.

The LDP, which is currently the dominant party in the Japanese government and the senior ruling coalition partner, is fueling the drive toward this new posture on Japan's space use policy. However, a number of political upheavals in Tokyo have slowed the LDP's push for this policy shift. In July 2007, the LDP lost control of the upper house (which is less powerful than the lower house of the bicameral Diet) to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). This loss, compounded by numerous political scandals, caused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to resign as of September 2007. Thus, the LDP-led ruling coalition has been struggling to deal with new political challenges to its parliamentary agenda. Meanwhile, Japan's "caretaker" prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda (of the LDP), has presided over an extended extraordinary Diet session while attempting to prolong the LDP's dominance in the lower house before the next round of elections (when the ruling coalition may lose its supermajority in the lower house). It should be noted that according to the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, the DPJ officials have expressed a willingness to pass legislation approving the military use of space and will submit a counterproposal to the Basic Space Bill in the ordinary Diet session of 2008. [8]

Japan's Space Policy and the Information Gathering Satellites

In 1967, Japan ratified the Outer Space Treaty—formally known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. The treaty's language is somewhat ambiguous regarding the use of satellites. Article III states that parties to the treaty will "carry on activities in the exploration and use of outer space…in the interest of maintaining international peace and security," while Article IV prohibits the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in space and restricts the use of "the moon and other celestial bodies" to "peaceful purposes." While the treaty does ban military bases, installations, and fortifications from being deployed on celestial bodies, the treaty does not expressly prohibit the use of outer space for "military" purposes. [9]

In May 1969, Japan's lower house of parliament passed a resolution further limiting the scope of Japan's space practices. The resolution states: "Japan's launching of objects into outer space…as well as its development and use of rockets to launch such objects should be limited for peaceful purposes only." In addition, the resolution limits the use of space to "non-military" applications, which effectively excludes the SDF from directly controlling satellites whether they are for communications, global positioning or reconnaissance. [10] The government re-interpreted this resolution in 1998 in order to allow the development and deployment of the IGS satellites. Nonetheless, direct military oversight of the program remains prohibited and the use of high-resolution surveillance technology—which is featured in military satellites deployed by other nations (e.g. the United States and China)—is banned under the current constraints set forth by the resolution. Although parliamentary resolutions are not as binding as a law, the self-imposed constraints still operate in Japan, where government moves toward greater military flexibility are regarded with scrutiny by the public and opposition party members alike. Moreover, New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, is also quite reluctant to expand Japan's military capabilities.

Despite the constraints articulated in the 1969 resolution, Japan has been operating a reconnaissance satellite program since its first successful launch of two IGS on March 28, 2003. The Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center (CSIC) was established that same month in order to oversee the IGS reconnaissance program and reports directly to the Japanese Cabinet. [11] Although not directly managing the operations of these satellites, Japan's Ministry of Defense (MOD) and SDF use information gathered by the reconnaissance satellite network as a warning system against ballistic missile launches—presumably to counter the North Korean missile threat, as it was North Korea's 1998 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) launch that precipitated initial funding for a rapid deployment of Japanese reconnaissance satellites. With the most recent successful IGS launch on February 24, 2007, Japan completed its reconnaissance satellite network which reportedly has the ability to monitor "all points" on earth once per day. [12] The Japanese government does not deny that the IGS are "spy" satellites and furthermore has declined to register the satellites with the UN in apparent disregard for the requirements under the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, which Japan signed in 1983. CSIC officials maintain that they cannot make details on the IGS public for "security" reasons. One CSIC official has also justified the act by pointing out that "there are many European and U.S. military satellites that are unregistered." [13]

Currently, there are four IGS deployed. Two are electro-optical satellites with 1-meter resolution and the other two are synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites with a resolution of 1 to 3 meters. [14] However, some critics of the satellites—developed indigenously by Mitsubishi Electric with some components imported from the United States—have said they are inadequate because the quality of the images are inferior to their U.S. counterparts. [15] Moreover, Japan's space program was described in a 2005 RAND report as possibly undergoing "a crisis of confidence" due to numerous satellite and launcher failures. [16] The IGS program hit its first major obstacle on October 29, 2003, when an H-2A rocket failed to gain the necessary altitude and velocity to place the second pair of IGS satellites in orbit. The rocket was destroyed by a mission "destruction command" and the satellites were lost. [17] Then, in April 2007, the IGS system itself encountered problems when the power source for Mitsubishi's Radar No. 1 (the first SAR) broke down causing an operation failure. The malfunction came one year prior to completion of its five-year life expectancy. This latter problem may threaten future IGS deployments because failures occurring before the end of a satellite's expected lifespan may be attributed to "basic defects" in satellite components. Consequently, the Radar No. 3 (planned for launch in 2011) deployment may need to be reconsidered or delayed. [18] However, the rocket failure did not hinder further launches of the H-2A, as the rocket's seventh consecutive successful launch was completed on September 14, 2007 (lunar probe launch). [19]

The Japanese government has steadily maintained funding for reconnaissance satellite development and deployment. The IGS program's annual budget has averaged 68 billion yen ($570 million) since 1999. [20] In April 2007, the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Japan had invested more than 500 billion yen ($4.2 billion) to develop its reconnaissance satellites. [21] However, many space experts in Japan still feel the program is under-funded. Moreover, at an April 2007 conference on Asian space security held in Tokyo, Yoichi Kamiyama of the Mitsubishi Corporation argued that Japan lacks a "defined space strategy outside of the areas of civilian science and technology" due to a "limited budget and the recent shrinkage of Japan's aerospace workforce." [22] Mr. Kamiyama's remarks indicate the space technology industry leaders' frustration with the lack of funding growth and severe limitations on the industry's international competitiveness.

Others in the Japanese business community have urged the government to change its space policy, especially as it relates to restrictions on the export of launch vehicle-related parts and satellite development. Accordingly, a shift toward space technology development for military applications would significantly boost Japan's international competitiveness in manufacturing and exporting such technology. [23] A lifting of the ban on domestic high-resolution satellite development will allow firms to manufacture satellites that would be exempt from "open-market regulations," and to develop space-related technology that may in the future win them lucrative contracts from foreign entities as well as Japanese military contracts. [24]

The space technology industry is not alone in its frustration over Japan's stagnant space policy. Former Education, Science and Technology Minister Takeo Kawamura warned that "[i]f the current state of affairs is left unattended, Japan is doomed to be outdone by China and India and fall into the ranks of underdeveloped countries as far as the space industry is concerned." [25] It is impossible to know how widespread such sentiments are among Japanese leaders; nevertheless, it is clear that space activities remain a priority to Japan's leadership and it is quite possible that some consider the current wave of Asian space missions as part of a competition to gain technological advantages over other Asian nations or to achieve greater international prestige.

North Korea's Missile and Nuclear Activities: Pretext or Primary Security Threat?

Currently, the most immediate threat to Japan's security is from North Korea's arsenal of Nodong medium-range ballistic missiles. According to various estimates, there are approximately 100-200 Nodong missiles targeting Japan, most of which are deployed in underground bases on mobile transporter erector launchers. [26] The DPRK successfully test fired Nodong missiles in May 1993 and July 2007. [27] Due to Japan's proximity to North Korea, this threat is legitimate and credible.

DPRK activities featuring longer range missiles have likewise been perceived as a threat to Japan's security and they command more international attention due to the potential threat to targets that are further away. On August 31, 1998, North Korea attempted to place a satellite into orbit using a Taepodong-1 (Paektusan-1) IRBM. The Taepodong-1 flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean approximately 330km east of the Japanese port city of Hachinohe. [28] The launch came as a shock to Japan's leaders and citizens. At an emergency Cabinet meeting, then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said, "The people are highly anxious, and I am deeply worried." LDP Secretary-General Yoshiro Mori told Japanese reporters that the act "could have led to a state of war" had the missile been directed at Japan. [29] In reaction to the launch, Japanese leaders postponed signing on to the Korean Energy Development Organization's (KEDO) plan to provide North Korea with light-water nuclear reactors. [30] The launch also had other, more significant implications for Japanese security; it drove Tokyo toward devoting more financial resources for programs such as ballistic missile defense (BMD) and the satellite reconnaissance program in order to counter to the North Korean missile threat.

In January 1998—before the test launch—Japan's Science and Technology Agency (STA) was granted the small sum of approximately 5 million yen ($38,600) to begin research on a reconnaissance satellite. After the Taepodong-1 was launched, the Japanese Cabinet allocated 6.8 billion yen ($58 million) to the STA for the development of reconnaissance satellites for fiscal year 1999. [31] Months before the Taepodong-1 launch, unnamed U.S. administration officials told the Japanese press that Washington was opposed to Japan's development of an indigenous reconnaissance satellite program. However, after the North Korean missile launch and the show of unanimous parliamentary support for the program in Japan, the U.S. government's position changed and Washington announced its support for the plan. [32] While Japan had once been content to depend on satellite intelligence provided by the United States, the increased threat from North Korea propelled the Japanese leadership toward fully embracing a large development budget in support of a reconnaissance satellite program, purportedly intended to help the SDF detect North Korean missile activity.

Almost eight years after the DPRK's Taepodong-1 flight test, North Korea launched seven ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. The July 5, 2006, missile exercise—which included the unsuccessful flight test of a long-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missile—provoked international condemnation. Japan was one of the most vocal critics of the missile launches, calling for an immediate United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in which it presented a draft resolution invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea. The UNSC later ratified Resolution 1695 which left out mention of Chapter VII but nonetheless condemned North Korea over the missile tests [33]

Japan's United Nations agenda regarding North Korea was given further leverage when the DPRK tested a nuclear device on October 9, 2006. The UNSC subsequently passed Resolution 1718 imposing wide ranging sanctions on North Korea. [34]Japan's avid push for sanctions against North Korea indicated the government's determination to regard such activities by the DPRK as security threats and those threats in turn have provided a basis for the development and deployment of the IGS satellites. Consistent with Japan's UN agenda, the Ministry of Defense cites the 2006 missile and nuclear tests as "serious threats" to Japan's security and to the "peace and stability" of East Asia and the international community as a whole. Significantly, these events are the only international incidents mentioned in former Minister of Defense Fumio Kyuma's Foreword to Japan's 2007 Defense White Paper. [35] This reveals that Japan's ostensible primary security concerns involve North Korea's ability to launch ballistic missiles that can potentially be armed with nuclear warheads. [36]

It is worth noting that although Japan's IGS program is reportedly meant to help the government detect such missile activity, the technical specifications of the current satellites appear to be less than ideal for that purpose. The imaging resolution of the Japanese systems are no better than that of many commercial satellites, and, therefore, the images from the Japanese satellites are inferior to those that Tokyo would be able to obtain from the U.S. military's high-precision satellites. Additionally, early warning satellites, which are capable of detecting a missile's heat signature, are forbidden under current Japanese regulations due to the obvious military nature of such advanced systems, whereas the current IGS system does not pose a direct challenge to the "non-military" restriction on Japanese space activities because it utilizes commercial satellite technology. Therefore, it seems that the development of advanced high-resolution satellites, being more effective than the IGS system in detecting missile activity, is a logical next step toward improving Japan's surveillance capabilities.

China's Growing Military Power/Space Capabilities and Japan's Long-Term Security

From an overall security perspective, the People's Republic of China (PRC) poses a more complex challenge to Japan than the threat from North Korea. Although the DPRK's nuclear and missile activities and the Kim Jong-Il regime's anti-Japanese rhetoric represent a tangible menace to Japanese national security, China's military growth and space-related achievements pose more ambiguous and longer term challenges. While few argue with the Japanese government's position that it needs military freedom of action in space to counter the North Korean missile/nuclear threat, there is a great deal of speculation and uncertainty about Japan's space policy vis-à-vis China. In official documentation, Japan's Ministry of Defense articulates its concerns over China's rapid growth and the modernization of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in broad security terms. More specifically, the MOD identifies China's military focus regarding the "implementation of measures to deal with the Taiwan issue." [37]The potential conflict over a Taiwanese assertion of independence is an important regional security concern for Japan and it often appears to be the most prominent security matter putting the United States and Japan at odds with China. Ongoing tension over such security matters sustains a level of suspicion between the Japanese and Chinese governments whenever each country advances its military capabilities.

China already has the greatest number of military personnel in the world and the PLA continues to enhance its capabilities through the procurement of advanced weaponry. Japan's MOD has noted China's modernization of its naval and air forces and its nuclear/missile capabilities in its analysis of Chinese military affairs. One of the MOD's chief concerns is China's "lack of transparency" regarding the goals and targets of its military modernization. [38] In March 2007, the Chinese government announced that its 2007 defense budget would increase 17.8 percent over its 2006 budget to a total of RMB 350 billion (US$44.9 billion). Chinese government officials argue that the budget is modest and point to an increase in operations due to UN peace keeping missions and international anti-terrorism efforts as primary factors influencing the increase. [39] Like the United States, the Japanese government suspects that Beijing's reporting on its military expenditures significantly downplays the true extent of the budget—although Japanese defense analysts have noted that despite the lack of detail in certain areas of China's official defense budget, the 2006 Defense White Paper did add a number of items to its list of expenditures, thus slightly increasing defense budget transparency. [40] Nonetheless, China's military power remains a major concern for Japan especially in light of recent U.S. troop withdrawals from permanent bases in Japan and South Korea. Some observers suspect that Japan may try to stabilize a consequential "power vacuum" in the region with steps toward remilitarization. [41] The balance of hard power in East Asia is an important factor in any effort on the part of the Japanese government to expand the nation's military capabilities, including improvements in intelligence gathering that can potentially increase Japan's ability to monitor Chinese military activity. IGS enhancements fit into this context.

The PRC's January 12, 2007 direct assent anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon exercise that successfully destroyed an obsolete Chinese weather satellite provoked international condemnation and a critical response from top members of Japan's leadership. [42] Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso decried China's failure to give advance notice of the test and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki stated doubts about China's peaceful motives due to the government's lack of openness about the test. Then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went a step further when he suggested that the ASAT test may have violated the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty because the treaty features a clause requiring signatory states to refrain from littering outer space with debris. [43]

Space debris is certainly a valid concern, but Japanese leaders were likely more concerned about China's ability to destroy Japan's limited number of satellites. Indeed, space analyst and editor of Jane's Space Directory, David Baker, corroborates this notion, noting that the ASAT test was, among other things, intended to make an impression on Tokyo and illustrate the PRC's ability to destroy Japanese reconnaissance satellites. [44] If Japanese leaders truly perceive China's ASAT capabilities as a threat to the nation's satellite assets, such perceptions will have a significant impact on Japan's defense policy and long-term space-related objectives, particularly with regard to Japan's joint missile defense program with the United States (which is integrated with satellite technology), a potential conflict over Taiwan, and the further development of Japan's intelligence gathering capabilities. Moreover, according to Japan's 2007 Defense White Paper, the ASAT test implies that China regards satellite attacks as "part of their military operations" and it points out that China is currently developing "a device to interfere with satellites using a laser." [45]Evidently, Japan's MOD is convinced that China will continue to develop modern military space technology capable of threatening Japanese satellites. Therefore, Japanese leaders have ample cause to allow the development of improved IGS to occur by passing legislation approving the military use of space, thus making reconnaissance satellites a more essential part of Japan's integrated defense systems.

It is likewise important to note that although Japan is a top competitor in East Asian space development, it currently lacks the capability to match China's ASAT capacity without assistance from the United States. Professor Hiroyuki Takano of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the National Defense Academy of Japan is doubtful that Japan could perform a successful ASAT test using only indigenous technology. He notes that in order to destroy an orbiting satellite, a "warhead needs to be equipped with a rocket for the purpose of controlling its position, a sensor to sight the target satellite, and electronic devices to process the data." Professor Takano adds that Japan does not currently posses this technology. [46] Although a shift in Japan's space policy is not likely to immediately encourage the use of ASAT weapons by the SDF, opening the use of space for military purposes will help Japan counter China's ASAT development progress, especially because advanced reconnaissance satellites will improve Japan's ability to detect missile launch preparations. Moreover, space law revision may also open the door for debate over the viability of a Japanese ASAT program.

Overall, China is making significant strides in its space program. In 2003 the PRC became the third nation to launch a manned space missions; its second manned flight occurred in 2005. China's next manned space mission is planned for 2008 and the chief launch vehicle engineer for the manned space program claims that astronauts will likely perform the nation's first-ever space walk during this mission. [47] Additionally, the China National Space Administration plans to launch a lunar probe in the latter half of this year and it intends to land two rovers on the moon's surface. The first rover is scheduled to be launched by around 2012, and the second is projected to land on the moon and return to earth with soil and stone samples. [48]As for a manned moon mission, Chinese experts have forecast that such an expedition will take place in approximately 15 years. [49] Plans and accomplishments of this nature stimulate competition between China and Japan in terms of space technology development and although not directly linked to military space progress, successful civilian space missions, like military advancements, boost the perception that Japan and China are engaged in a "space race."

Although China's space objectives and recent accomplishments are often weighed against those of Japan, there are many reasons that PRC leaders are interested in asserting the nation's prowess in space: such as gaining international prestige and legitimacy for the regime and eventually catching up to the United States in terms of space technology. [50] Yet, surpassing Japan's space capabilities is a more immediate prospect; Japan has fallen well behind China regarding satellite deployments for national defense purposes as the PRC has successfully placed numerous satellites in orbit for reconnaissance, strategic/tactical communications, and navigation, and has plans for future launches such as the second-generation SAR launch scheduled for 2010. [51] Moreover, China's space program, unlike Japan's, has a high level of civil-military integration which allows for increased efficiency and lower costs. Thus, China is able to maintain large budgets for military space programs whereas Japan is constrained by insufficient funding and is restricted to commercial-level space technology development. Nevertheless, Japan benefits from its alliance with the United States and therefore enjoys greater access to U.S. space technology, whereas political tension between Beijing and Washington continues to motivate the U.S. government to limit China's access to such technology. [52] Moreover, Japan remains competitive in the civilian space sector. On October 5, 2007, Japan succeeded in placing its first lunar satellite into orbit, ahead of China's lunar satellite which was launched on October 24, 2007 and India's unmanned lunar mission slotted for an April 2008 launch. These space missions have prompted some analysts and press agents to use the phrase "Asian space race" when referring to present and future space missions on the part of the three aforementioned Asian nations. [53] Whereas, in the technological sense a space race is regarded by many as having been under way for some time, a space law revision in Japan will likely lead to increased military space competition among the Asian powers. Consequently, there may be a considerable paradigm shift in the expanding "Asian space race," as it takes on a broader military dimension to match ongoing civilian/commercial space competition.

Despite the potential for increased military competition between Japan and China with a revision of Japan's space law, there have been some encouraging signs that Sino-Japanese political and military relations are improving. A major political "ice-breaker" occurred when Shinzo Abe, during his tenure as prime minister, reversed the trend of the Koizumi era by visiting China in October 2006 (the first visit to China by a Japanese prime minister in five years). [54] Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, reciprocated in April 2007 in an effort to strengthen ties between the Chinese and Japanese legislatures—this is often referred to as the "ice-thawing trip." [55] Then, in December 2007, Prime Minister Fukuda adopted the same approach as his predecessor by paying a high profile visit to China and remarking on the need to "search for effective and responsible means to establish cooperation" between the nations. [56] Fukuda's statement is likewise applicable on the military front where tensions have been declining. In September 2007, Chinese Defense Minister General Cao Gangchuan visited Japan as the first step in a series of confidence building measures intended to improve Sino-Japanese military ties. The first-ever visit to a Japanese port by a PRC naval vessel in late November 2007 is the most noteworthy of such measures. [57] Improving bilateral ties are an encouraging sign that East Asia's two main powers may be able to assuage regional security concerns; however, the two nations have long been natural competitors and mistrust still lingers. Such realities suggest that if Japan opens outer space for military use, space policies on both sides will trend toward increased militarization and ongoing military competition.

Fears of a Resurgent Japan: External Criticism and Japan's Official Position

The legacy of militarist Japan's World War II era atrocities continues to fuel suspicions over Japanese intentions in East Asia. Many Chinese and Korean leaders and citizens remain unappeased by Japanese politicians' apologies over incidents that occurred during this time. Visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine by previous prime ministers, the unsettled "comfort women" issue, and accusations that some Japanese school texts promote revisionist histories glossing over Japanese atrocities in Asia have soured relations between Japan and other Asian nations—particularly China, North Korea and South Korea. [58] The issues are not likely to be resolved any time soon and many Asian leaders continue to cite concerns over a resurgence of an armed Japan when opposing moves by Tokyo that appear to re-militarize the nation in any capacity, including missile defense and satellite reconnaissance developments. [59] Therefore, a radical shift in the nation's space policy has the potential to cause tension between Japan and its East Asian neighbors.

Analysts in China have expressed severe criticism over Japan's IGS program in particular. Some have claimed that Japan's Daichi Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS)—which is not linked to the IGS program—is a "spy" satellite, pointing out that it can "observe the entire Asia-Pacific region 24 hours a day." Moreover, Japan is suspected of using satellite reconnaissance to counter Chinese military power and bolster its BMD systems. [60] A Shanghai-based daily, which reported on the introduction of the Basic Space Bill, suggests that the revision not only "breaks" with the 1969 Diet resolution affirming the use of space solely for "peaceful purposes", but also violates the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty. The report goes on to say that these "breaks" will promote the Japanese space program's "deviation from peaceful objectives" and possibly spur an "arms race spiral." [61] Although official Chinese statements on the Japanese program are absent, with most media in China being state-controlled, these critiques in the press suggest that such views are either close to those of the Chinese leadership or are not much of a departure from what the government may want Chinese media to say about Japan's space ambitions.

Reports from the DPRK are even more critical of the Japanese government's plan to militarize its space program. Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the Korean Workers Party, recently featured a commentary calling the introduction of the space bill to parliament a "grave situation." According to this commentary, the reconnaissance satellite program is a "manifestation of the dangerous attempt to fulfill [Japanese] ambitions to become a military power and to expand abroad." The article goes on to claim that Japan has not given up on its drive to be at the apex of an "Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" and that Japanese leaders see "space militarization" and missile defense plans as a "key link for becoming a military power." [62] This is nothing new. North Korea has always openly opposed advances in Japan's military posture and has leveled harsh criticism against Japan over numerous issues; the IGS program has been one of these since its inception. [63] On the day of Japan's first IGS launch, a spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry reiterated a warning that this launch was seen as a "hostile act" by the DPRK and that Japan would be "held wholly responsible for sparking a new arms race in Northeast Asia." [64] Frequent criticism between Japan and North Korea is commonplace, and because the Japanese government proclaims that the DPRK missile and nuclear activities are its number one reason for deploying the reconnaissance satellites, it should come as no surprise that Kim Jong-Il's regime is the most vocal governmental critic of the IGS program.

For its part, the Japanese government has made few official statements regarding the suggested policy shift. However, it is clear that Japan seeks greater technological independence in the area of space development. Former Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) President Shuichiro Yamanouichi spoke of the IGS program in March 2003 saying that by deploying the satellites, Japan sought "information independence" and that this was "very important" for the Japanese. [65] More recently, when Japanese officials proudly announced the successful February 24, 2007 IGS launch, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe added his own tacit approval of the reconnaissance satellite program by saying he welcomed the success of the launch, and hoped that Japan's space program would "mark the results that are appropriate for a leading nation in space." [66] This statement and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' official policy position that the use of space by the SDF does not violate the principles of the "peaceful use of outer space," suggests that Japan's stance is fairly clear cut: the nation's leadership defends the right to use space for "peaceful" military purposes and considers its space program of significance both in the realm of security and in confirming Japan's position as one of the world's leading countries in space development. [67]

Forces Behind the Broadening of Japan's Military Capabilities

Japanese security policy revisions have historically met resistance due to the specified "peaceful" nature of Japan's constitution—particularly Article 9 in which Japan "renounce[s] war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes." Before Junichiro Koizumi became prime minister in 2001, few Japanese leaders had tackled this obstacle because the constraints set forth in Article 9 are deeply entrenched in the country's political structure. [68]

Japanese leaders especially interested in expanding the country's security objectives and military capabilities have attempted to reinterpret and/or revise the constitution in order to ease the security limitations imposed by constitutional constraints. In so doing, these "reformist" leaders have sought to bring the SDF closer to becoming a conventional military and consequently diminish Japan's dependency on the protection of the United States' "security umbrella." The reformists' long-standing goal has been to transform Japan into a "normal country"—one that is responsible for its own security and whose foreign policy is guided primarily by its own strategic interests, rather than being tethered to the interests of another country (i.e. the United States). Although such leaders have enacted some noteworthy changes to Japan's security policy since the constitution was promulgated in 1946, they have faced much criticism for their actions.

In 1960, Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi pushed for constitutional change during his tenure and presided over a highly controversial revision of the U.S.-Japan security treaty that "expanded and strengthened" the SDF allowing it to be "minimally armed" for purposes of self-defense. [69] Then, in the early 1980's, self-proclaimed nationalist Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone began to push for constitutional revision calling for a "final settlement of accounts for postwar politics." [70] Nakasone also presided over a major change in Japan's space use policy: in 1985, Tokyo issued the "governmental unified view," which stipulated that the SDF could use the kind of satellites that were already being employed daily in civil society. Japan's policies under the government unified view also allowed Japan to develop the IGS system. [71]

In the early 1990's, when Japan endured international criticism for providing monetary funds to help with the Persian Gulf War effort instead of sending military support, the constitutional debate re-emerged. Specifically, Ozawa Ichiro—former LDP faction leader and current opposition leader—made efforts to amend the constitution in order to enable the SDF to participate in UN peace keeping operations. Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister from 2001 to 2006, continued the trend voicing his "strong desire" for constitutional revision. [72] Shinzo Abe, who took over for Koizumi in 2006, maintained efforts to change the constitution and in particular revise Article 9 in order to better integrate U.S.-Japan missile defense development. [73] Abe was also one of many prominent Japanese figures behind the debate on whether Japan should be allowed to execute pre-emptive strikes against North Korean missile sights under the self-defense guidelines of the constitution. [74] Most significantly, Abe presided over the passing of a bill that details legal procedures for a national referendum on changing the constitution. [75] Despite making progress toward constitutional reform with the passage of this legislation and his formation of the Council on Reconstruction of a Legal Basis for Security—a body commissioned to examine possible security policy changes, which could potentially loosen restrictions regarding BMD systems and collective security—the LDP's loss of control over the upper house in 2007 and Abe's subsequent resignation as prime minister culminated in a major debacle over Japan's role in security operations outside of Japan. [76]

Prime Minister Fukuda carried the government through this upheaval while the LDP-New Komeito coalition remained embroiled in fierce conflict with Ozawa and the DPJ over a divisive piece of legislation: Japan's antiterrorism law, which expired on November 1, 2007. This law authorized the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, which supported U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. Fukuda and the LDP wanted the MSDF to continue the mission. However, Ozawa's opposition DPJ blocked renewal of the legislation that allowed the MSDF to carry out the Indian Ocean mission since 2001. When the law expired, the MSDF was recalled from those operations. [77] This political battle consumed Fukuda from day one of his premiership and overshadowed all other security matters under deliberation in the Diet. At last, the ruling coalition dominated lower house approved the antiterrorism bill a second time (with the two-thirds majority required to override an upper house result) after the upper house voted it down on January 11, 2008. Thus, the most contentious security matter before the Diet has been dealt with and the MSDF refueling mission is set to resume operations in mid-February. [78] The stalemate over the antiterrorism bill, which lasted almost three months, is a striking example of the kind of delay a resolute DPJ can force upon contentious legislation. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether any Japanese prime minister—facing a divided parliament—can push a reformist agenda in the foreseeable future. Still, the DPJ does not oppose all manner of military expansion, and neither are its security policy positions diametrically opposed to those of the LDP.

Despite the vagaries of military expansion in Japan and the waning of reformist power in parliament, the remilitarization of Japan appears to be an overarching trend that will likely continue. Recent developments have broken long-standing taboos—such as the opening up of military influence over SDF expenditures and budgeting with the elevation of Japan's Defense Agency to a cabinet ministry—and new possibilities for Japanese military expansion will almost certainly arise. [79] The Basic Space Bill and the future of Japan's space program should be considered in this context.

The New Domestic Political Challenge

It is a time of uncertainty regarding the future of Japan's political landscape. Many questions remain unanswered. Will the LDP and DPJ cooperate and bring stability to lawmaking efforts? Will the parties eventually form a grand coalition? Will Japan's national security polices continue to move in the direction that Koizumi and Abe intended? With the DPJ in control of the upper house and the mounting pressure this places on the Fukuda government and the ruling coalition, the LDP and New Komeito will continue to encounter challenges to their collective power in parliament. [80] Although the upper house of the Diet is less powerful than the lower house (which chooses the prime minister), the opposition-controlled upper house can still disrupt the legislative process by blocking passage of a bill. If the DPJ chooses this route, the ruling coalition's bills will have to pass the lower house a second time with a two-thirds majority in order to become law—as we have seen with the antiterrorism bill. [81] However, the prospect of an overriding second lower house vote is unlikely due to the fact that the antiterrorism bill was the first legislation to be passed in this manner since 1951 and its use is highly controversial. [82]

Although the DPJ appears to be in support of the military use of space, little debate on the space law revision has occurred and the DPJ and ruling coalition may encounter points of contention over certain aspects of the bill. [83] Furthermore, with ongoing friction between the DPJ and LDP, lawmaking efforts may be slow as policy disagreements are addressed and resolved through intensely deliberative parliamentary processes. Moreover, an early general election may be called if parliamentary activities are severely stalled or if LDP leaders believe the party needs a new mandate in response to pressure from the DPJ. The new political landscape in Japan makes guessing if and when a bill will be passed, a difficult undertaking. Still, some observers have suggested that the space law revision will pass during the 2008 ordinary Diet session that began in mid-January, 2008. [84]


If the Basic Space Bill does become law and the SDF is allowed to oversee the IGS and other military space projects, it is likely that research and development funding for the space program as a whole will increase. Therefore, the structure and emphasis of the space program will expand and shift toward development of military space technology. This may be a welcome change for those who want more government investment in the space industry and greater fiscal support for JAXA. However, a shift in Japan's space program priorities may not be entirely beneficial in the opinion of some insiders. In April, 2006, then JAXA Associate Executive Director Yasunori Matogawa expressed concern over the possible appropriation of civilian space project funding for defense projects. He stated that because defense "would be in the spotlight," some of the areas of space development in which Japan has traditionally been strong (e.g. X-ray astronomy and infrared technologies) may be affected. [85] Thus, revision of Japan's space policy could have a negative impact on non-defense related space projects. At the same time, space law revision could open the door for greater harmonization of Japan's missile defense systems as military satellites can not only be used to improve missile activity detection capabilities but also to improve communication and coordination of missile defenses. Such advancements would be in line with Japan's ongoing expansion of its BMD systems.

Overall, the Basic Space Bill is a multi-faceted piece of legislation which is meant to broaden Japan's military capabilities and enhance the level of civil-military integration. BMD and reconnaissance systems capabilities would receive a boost with passage of the bill; moreover, direct military oversight of the IGS would ease the process of gathering satellite intelligence for defense purposes. Such developments would be consistent with the steady loosening of restrictions on the SDF and Japan's national defense bureaucracy in recent years. Likewise, lifting restrictions on the military use of space would encourage further military buildup as Japan seeks to counter Chinese military enhancements and take on a more prominent role in the international security arena; it would also promote the notion that Japan should take on greater responsibility for protecting its own national interests. All this would certainly bring Japan closer to becoming a "normal country" with the national defense capacity to match its economic prowess—an objective that many Japanese leaders regard as necessary in order to counter growing threats from its regional rivals and take the country's rightful place in the international community..

Nevertheless, progress towards re-militarization in any form will occur slowly in Japan. Prominent Japanese space law analyst Setsuko Aoki has concluded that fiscal constraints and Japan's "peace-loving national sentiment" will make a "drastic shift" toward far-reaching military space programs impossible. [86] Furthermore, tumultuousness in Japan's internal political structure has made the ultimate outcome on the space law revision less certain. It is unclear whether disagreements between the ruling coalition and the opposition will delay passage of the bill or whether the LDP and DPJ will cooperate in order to pass the legislation without overdrawn deliberations. Moreover, snap elections may still occur before passage of the bill; if they do, the LDP may emerge a weaker party and the DPJ can potentially gain more leverage over the composition of the final bill. Additionally, the longevity of the Fukuda government is far from guaranteed. Despite the political uncertainties, Japan's current reconnaissance capabilities seem overly restricted in light of the widely held perception that Japan is under threat from North Korean missiles and China's growing military strength. Therefore, if the bill passes, a major legal obstacle to the expansion of Japan's military capabilities will be removed. Advances in Japanese space-related technologies—which would likely follow—may then potentially promote the nation's defense initiatives. Considering the overall benefits to Japan's military progress, eventual enactment of a Japanese space law revision appears inevitable as the nation inches toward re-militarization with the likely opening of space for military use.


[1] Japan's restrictive space policies have also hampered growth in the space technology industry due to limitations on the granting of export licenses for rocket components and satellite technology that may have military applications as well as the marketing, manufacture, and testing of dual-use technology like South Korea's combined civil/military satellite, Koreasat 5. See Setsuko Aoki, "Session II Perspectives on Space Security (Japan)," Paper presented at the conference on Collective Security in Space: Asian Perspectives on Acceptable Approaches, Tokyo, Japan, April 22-23, 2007.
[2] The LDP and New Komeito comprise the ruling coalition in Japan's government. By itself the LDP holds a majority of seats in the more powerful Lower House of parliament (306 seats out of 480) and including New Komeito (31 seats) the coalition holds more than a two-thirds majority. See Strength of Political Groups in the House of Representatives, Japan's House of Representatives,; Setsuko Aoki, "Session II Perspectives on Space Security (Japan)," see source in [1]. See also: "Kyodo: Ruling Bloc Complies Outline of Space Bill," Kyodo World Service, June 7, 2007, in OSC Document JPP20070607969094; and "Ruling Party Lawmakers Submit Bill for Self-Defense Use of Space," Japan Economic Newswire, June 20, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[3] "Ruling Party Lawmakers Submit Bill for Self-Defense Use of Space," Japan Economic Newswire, June 20, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis; and "Did Japanese Government Depend on the United States for Information Gathering on North Korea's Missile Launches?" Kyodo Clue III, July 7, 2007, OSC document JPP20070709043005.
[4] "Ruling Bloc Compiles Outline of Space Bill," Kyodo World Service, June 7, 2007, in OSC document JPP20070607969094.
[5] "Editorial; LDP Must Act on Bill to Get Japan in Space Race," Yomiuri Shimbun, January 21, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[6] Setsuko Aoki, "Session II Perspectives on Space Security (Japan)," see source in [1]
[7] It is vital in the discussion of space security to make a distinction between "militarization" and "weaponization." Japan's space bill is meant to allow the country to militarize, but not weaponize space. Defining the weaponization of space and space weapons is difficult since there is no universally accepted distinction between space weapons and non-space weapons in the international community. The militarization of space is a much less contentious topic because it is widely accepted that space has already been militarized. Thus, militarization of space simply describes a "situation in which the military makes use of space in carrying out its missions." Therefore, if communications, reconnaissance and/or monitoring satellites are used for military applications, then the country using these systems has crossed the threshold to militarization of space. Since Japan currently uses satellites for military purposes, one may argue that the nation has already militarized its space program. However, the government has not established a legal precedent for this, which is why the IGS program is considered an "open secret" and cannot be overseen by the SDF. See "Definition of Space Militarization," Space Debate, See also "Ruling Party Lawmakers Submit Bill for Self-Defense Use of Space," Japan Economic Newswire, June 20, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis; and Huang Liying, "Japan Wants 'Military Use' of Space," Shanghai Dongfang Zaobao, June 22, 2007, in OSC document CPP20070628050003.
[8] "DPJ Approves Defense Use of Space in Outline of Bill," Yomiuri Shimbun, December 27, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[9] Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies,
[10] Kazuki Yoshiyama, "China's Military Expansion to Outer Space, Japan's Space Technology Level," Yomiuri Weekly, March 25, 2007, in OSC document JPP20070315044003.
[11] Steven Brenner, "Japan's Space Program: A Fork in The Road?" RAND National Security Research Division: Technical Report, 2005,
[12] Keisuke Yoshimura, Kyodo News Agency in "Japan's Spy Satellites Are an Open Secret," Japan Times, June 15, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Steven Brenner, "Japan's Space Program: A Fork in The Road?" See Source in [11]
[15] Eric Talmadge, "Latest Spy Satellite Launches Japan Back into Asia's Space Race," Associated Press, February 26, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[16] Steven Brenner, "Japan's Space Program: A Fork in The Road?" see source in [11]
[17] See H-IIA Launch Vehicle, JAXA,
[18] Keiko Chino, "Govt Needs Satellite Rethink; Plight of Radar No. 1 Reveals Problems Requiring Attention," Yomiuri Shimbun, April 10, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[19] Taisei Hoyama and Noriyasu Sato, "Chasing dream of 'Space Superpower'," Nikkei Weekly, October 1, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[20] Steven Brenner, "Japan's Space Program: A Fork in The Road?" see source in [11]
[21] Keiko Chino, "Govt Needs Satellite Rethink; Plight of Radar No. 1 Reveals Problems Requiring Attention," see source in [18]
[22] Eric R. Quam and James Clay Moltz, "Asian Approaches to Space Security," James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, CNS Research Story, May 10, 2007,
[23] Kyoichi Sasazawa, "Govt Eyeing Space Policy Overhaul," Yomiuri Shimbun, July 4, 2004, in Lexis-Nexis.
[24] Taisei Hoyama and Noriyasu Sato, "Chasing dream of 'Space Superpower'," see source in [19]
[25] Ibid.
[26] Richard D. Fisher, Jr., "Northeast Asian Missile Forces: Defence and Offence," Jane's Intelligence Review, November 1, 2006,; "DPRK Reportedly Builds New Missile Bases Along East Coast," Yonhap News Agency, August 3, 2006, in OSC Document FEA20060803025872; and "North Korea's Nuclear Threat; Missile Defense Requires Due Diligence," Yomiuri Shimbun, January 21, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[27] "N. Korea Tests Missiles; Capable of Hitting Japan," Yomiuri Shimbun, June 12, 1993, in Lexis-Nexis.
[28] Joseph S. Bermudez, "North Koreans Test Two-Stage IRBM Over Japan," Jane's Defence Weekly, September 9, 1998,; "North Korean Missile Test-firing Stuns Experts," Mainichi Shimbun, September 2, 1998, in Lexis-Nexis; and Steven Lee Meyers, "U.S. Calls North Korean Rocket a Failed Satellite," New York Times, September 15, 1998, in Lexis-Nexis.
[29] Willis Witter, "N. Korea Missile Test Irks Japan; Tokyo Worried About Defense," Washington Times, September 2, 1998, p. 1, in Lexis-Nexis.
[30] KEDO was established in 1995 to support the key goals of the U.S.-North Korea "Agreed Framework" wherein North Korea agreed to suspend and ultimately dismantle its nuclear program in return for two light-water reactors and heavy fuel oil shipments. The United States., South Korea and Japan were KEDO's founding members. See "About Us: Our History," KEDO,; and Joseph S. Bermudez, "North Koreans Test Two-Stage IRBM Over Japan," see source in [28]
[31] "Government Considers Reconnaissance Satellite," Yomiuri Shimbun, September 9, 1998, in Lexis-Nexis; "Japan: Information Gathering Satellites," Federation of American Scientists, Space Policy Project, World Space Guide,; "U.S. Opposes Japan's Plan for Spy Satellite," Kyodo News Agency, January 7, 1998, in OSC Document FTS19980106001442; and Kyodo News Agency in "U.S. to Support Japan's Introduction of Spy Satellite," Japan Economic Newswire, September 13, 1998, in Lexis-Nexis.
[32] "Japan: Information Gathering Satellites," Federation of American Scientists website, Space Policy Project, World Space Guide,
[33] Chapter VII of the UN Charter stipulates that the Security Council may call upon UN member states to apply economic and diplomatic sanctions in order to "maintain or restore international peace and security." It also opens the door for military action by member states, whether in the form of a blockade or more coercive military measures. See "Chapter VII : Action With Respect to Threats to Peace, Breaches of the Peace, And Acts of Aggression,"; "East Asian Strategic Review, 2007," The National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan Times, Ltd., April, 2007 (English Version),; and "Resolution 1695 (2006)," United Nations Security Council,
[34] "East Asian Strategic Review, 2007," National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan Times, Ltd., April, 2007 (English Version),; and "Resolution 1718 (2006)," United Nations Security Council,
[35] "Defense of Japan 2007 (Annual White Paper)," Japan Ministry of Defense,
[36] An interesting challenge to the widely accepted notion that North Korea's 1998 missile launch was meant to threaten Japan has surfaced. In 2005, researchers at the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report noting that the Taepodong 1 (Paektusan-1)—executed to place a North Korean satellite in orbit—was likely launched over Japan to take advantage of the Earth's rotational speed, which increases a rocket's velocity when it travels eastward, thus, inevitably sending the rocket eastward over Japan. See David Wright, Laura Grego, and Lisbeth Gronlund, "The Physics of Space Security: A Reference Manual," American Academy of Arts and Sciences, May 2005,
[37] "Defense of Japan 2007 (Annual White Paper)," see source in [35]
[38] Ibid.
[39] Jing-dong Yuan, "Beijing Defends Military Spending Increase," WMD Insights, April 2007,
[40] "Defense of Japan 2007 (Annual White Paper)," see source in [35]; "East Asian Strategic Review, 2007," National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan Times, Ltd., April, 2007 (English Version),
[41] "Land of the Rising Gun – Japan's Shifting Security Identity," Jane's Intelligence Review, September 1, 2007,
[42] The United States and many of its allies were highly critical of China's ASAT test. Yet Washington was aware of China's ASAT preparations and had detected previous Chinese ASAT system exercises in July 2005 and February 2006 (neither struck a target) and chose not to protest until after the January, 2007 ASAT exercise. See Michael R. Gordon and David S. Cloud, "U.S. Knew of China's Missile Test, but Kept Silent," New York Times, April 23, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis; Stephanie C. Lieggi, "Space Arms Race: China's ASAT Test a Wake-up Call," Center for Nonproliferation Studies, CNS Research Story, January 24, 2007,; and Caitlin Harrington, "China ASAT Test Rekindles Weapons Debate," Jane's Defense Weekly, January 24, 2007,
[43] Richard Weitz, "Special Report: Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapon Test – The Shot Heard 'round the World," WMD Insights, March 2007,
[44] Breffni O'Rourke, "China: Test Could Bring Militarization of Space a Step Closer," Radio Free Europe: Radio Liberty, January 22, 2007,
[45] "Defense of Japan 2007 (Annual White Paper)," see source in [35]
[46] Kazuki Yoshiyama, "Japan's Military Power in Outer Space: Is It Stronger than China's?" Yomiuri Weekly, March 25, 2007, in OSC Document JPP20070315044003.
[47] "Homemade Suit for Chinese Space Walk," Moon Daily, March 5, 2007,
[48] "China to 'Most Likely' Launch First Lunar Probe in Latter 2007," Xinhua News Agency, May 20, 2007, in OSC Document CPP20070520968075.
[49] "Chinese Spacemen to Reach Moon in 15 Years," Moon Daily, March 7, 2007,
[50] "China's Space Program; Ni Hao Moon," Economist, Vol. 385, No. 8552, October 27-November 2, 2007, pg. 54.
[51] Jonathan Weng, "China Expands Space Reconnaissance Power Rapidly," Jane's Defense Weekly, June 14, 2007,
[52] Mark Magnier, Bruce Wallace and Shankhadeep Choudhury, "Asia Getting its Legs into the Space Race," Los Angeles Times, November 24, 2007,
[53] Eric Talmadge, "Japan Lunar Probe Reaches Orbit,", October 5, 2007,; Tracy Quek, "Asian Space Race Heats Up With Launch of China's Lunar Probe; The Country Takes a Giant Leap, After a Similar Japanese Mission Last Month," Straits Times, October 25, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis; and Hiroko Tabuchi, "New Lunar Missions Stir Asian Space Race," Associated Press, August 25, 2007.
[54] "Japan's Abe Visits China, 'Turning Point' in relations," Xinhua, Oct. 8, 2006,
[55] "Premier Wen Meets with Japanese Parliament Leaders,", April 12, 2007,
[56] Kristine Kwok, "Japan Should Reflect on Historical Mistakes: Fukuda; We Have to Face the Past with Courage, says visiting PM," South China Morning Post, December 29, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[57] Jing-dong Yuan, "Sino-Japan Military Ties Face Challenges," Asia Times, September 6, 2007,
[58] Former Prime Minister Abe added to the tension by suggesting that the Japanese government was not responsible for forcing women from neighboring Asian countries into sex slavery, backtracking on a 1993 official acknowledgement of the wartime government's responsibility for such activities. See Norimitsu Onishi, "Abe Denies Sex Slavery by Japan During War; Tokyo Seen Backing Away from Apology," International Herald Tribune, March 3, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[59] Steven Brenner, "Japan's Space Program: A Fork in The Road?" see source in [11]; Bill Gertz, "Chinese 'Civilian' Satellite a Spy Tool," Washington Times, August 1, 2001, in Lexis-Nexis.
[60] Jing-Dong Yuan, "China Wary of Japanese Spy Satellites," WMD Insights, March 2006,
[61] Huang Liying, "Japan Wants 'Military Use' of Space," Shanghai Dongfang Zaobao, June 22, 2007, in OSC Document CCP20070628050003.
[62] "Ambitious Attempt to Militarize Space," Rodong Sinmun, June 20, 2007, in OSC Document KPP20070620024001.
[63] It is often difficult to determine to what degree North Korean officials and the press use such harsh rhetoric for Japanese and international consumption, and how much of the DPRK's "saber rattling" is truly intended to inculcate and energize the domestic audience. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the international press disseminates North Korean media reports to an international audience, thus, Japanese leaders and the public are aware of the Kim Jong-Il regime's professed opposition to Japan's military advancements.
[64] "DPRK Foreign Ministry Spokesman Blasts Japan's Launch of Spy Satellite," Korean Central News Agency, March 28, 2003,
[65] Steven Brenner, "Japan's Space Program: A Fork in The Road?" see source in [11]
[66] Eric Talmadge, "Latest Spy Satellite Launches Japan Back into Asia's Space Race," Associated Press, February 26, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis.
[67] "Japan's Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Policy: Third Edition," Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan),
[68] With Japan's defeat in WWII, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (U.S. occupation military authority) imposed a "pacifist" constitution. See "The Constitution of Japan,"
[69] Atsushi Odawara, "The Dawn of Constitutional Debate," Japan Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 1, January 1, 2000, p. 17-22,
[70] Saeki Toshiro, "Amendment is Just a Grand Illusion," Japan Quarterly, vol. 48, no. 4, October 1, 2001, p. 72-79,
[71] Setsuko Aoki, "Session II Perspectives on Space Security (Japan)," see source in [1]
[72] Saeki Toshiro, "Amendment is Just a Grand Illusion," Japan Quarterly, vol. 48, no. 4, October 1, 2001, p. 72-79,
[73] Masako Toki and Sarah Diehl, "Japan Takes Steps to Integrate with U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense," WMD Insights, July/August, 2007,
[74] Shinzo Abe advocated debate on this issue in July 2006 while he was still Chief Cabinet Secretary for Prime Minister Koizumi's administration. See Daniel A. Pinkston and Kazutaka Sakurai, "Japan Debates Preparing for Future Preemptive Strikes Against North Korea," TKorean Journal of Defense Analysis, Vol. 18, No. 4, Winter 2006, p. 95-121,
[75] See Masako Toki and Sarah Diehl, "Japan Takes Steps to Integrate with U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense," see source in [73]
[76] It should be noted that Fukuda differs from Abe regarding some key security policy initiatives; he demonstrated this when he discarded Abe's plan to form a National Security Council patterned after that of the United States. See "Fukuda Scraps Abe's Security Council Plan," Asahi Shimbun, December 26, 2007,
[77] Eric Talmadge, "Japan Halts Indian Ocean Mission," Guardian Unlimited, November 1, 2007,
[78] Kenji Yoshimura and Chikara Shima, "Full Steam Ahead for Refueling Mission; Govt Preparing to Dispatch MSDF Ships to Indian Ocean in Line with New Law," Yomiuri Shimbun, January 13, 2008, in Lexis-Nexis.
[79] "Land of the Rising Gun – Japan's Shifting Security Identity," see source in [41]
[80] Chisa Fujioka, "New Scandal Hits Japan Cabinet as Parliament Opens," Reuters, August 7, 2007,
[81] "LDP, DPJ Should Consider Grand Coalition," Yomiuri Shimbun, August 16, 2007,
[82] "Diet Passes Antiterror Bill; Passage to Enable Refueling Mission to Resume in Mid-Feb," Yomiuri Shimbun, January 12, 2008, in Lexis-Nexis.
[83] "DPJ Approves Defense Use of Space in Outline of Bill," see source in [8]
[84] The following articles state that the space law revision will likely pass during the 2008 ordinary Diet session: Peter Ford, "What's Behind Asia's Moon Race?" Christian Science Monitor, October 25, 2007, in Lexis-Nexis; and "DPJ Approves Defense Use of Space in Outline of Bill," see source in [8]
[85] Ichiko Fuyuno, "Japan Revises its Military Plans for Space," Nature vol. 440, no. 7086, April 13, 2006, p. 857,
[86] Setsuko Aoki, "Collective Security in Space: Asian Perspective (Japan)," see source in [1]

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