Japan passed a law in June allowing the development of military space programs. In an email interview, Saadia M. Pekkanen, Job and Gertrud Tamaki professor at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, discussed the strategic trajectory of Japan’s space program.*
WPR: What is the current scope of Japan's space program, and what are its priority programs, both short-term and long-term?
Saadia M. Pekkanen: Japan has sophisticated rocket and satellite capabilities that allow it to continue up the ladder in space technologies. It has advanced liquid and solid-fuel rockets, as well as multiple satellite programs. These capabilities mean that it also has ambitions regarding lunar, asteroid and Mars expeditions that go beyond just mapping and space sciences. In all, Japan is an extremely credible and top-notch player in civil and military space developments worldwide.