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Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono, left, attends a ceremony in Tokyo on Monday to mark the launch of the Air Self-Defense Force's space unit tasked with monitoring space debris, asteroids and other threats to artificial satellites. Photo: KYODO
politics

Japan launches new unit to step up defense in outer space

54 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

Japan launched its new space defense unit Monday to monitor and counter threats to the country's satellites.

The Space Operations Squadron, part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, starts with 20 members and is expected to grow to about 100 members once the unit is fully operational in 2023.

The role of the unit is mainly to monitor and protect Japanese satellites from enemy attacks or space debris. It will also conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field.

The launch of the new unit comes amid growing Japanese concern that China and Russia are seeking ways to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.

The unit will cooperate with U.S. Space Command that President Donald Trump established last year, as well as Japan’s space exploration agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Defense Minister Taro Kono said.

“It is important that we gain superiority in the space domain as well,” Kono said Monday at a launch ceremony. “We must adapt to the new security environment as soon as possible.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed for Japan’s Self-Defense Force to expand its international role and capability by bolstering cooperation and weapons compatibility with the U.S., as it increasingly works alongside American troops and as it grows concerned about the increasing capabilities of China and North Korea.

© 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

54 Comments
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How appropriate! Right after the world's leading space cadet gets his flag, they made one here too!

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Space Defense?

No country owns space.

Taking nationalistic pretenses into space will only lead to conflict.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

No country really owns anything, but if they control it, people will say they own it. And yes, I agree it will most likely lead to conflict. It could lead to cooperation, and the shared creation of wondrous beauty, but that doesn’t seem to be the flavor of these times.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Why take conflict to space?Find peace right here in our daily lives and no need to waste money on expensive and egoistic ventures leading to nowhere.

There are people right here in Japan who earn about 1000 per hr and some even less than that.If this is not poverty,tell me what it is.Deal with reality on the ground.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Here we go with the star wars defense system again. Hey, here's an idea: Why don't we spend our tax payer money on our people and help those who are suffering during this pandemic!

12 ( +21 / -9 )

Yubaru already said it! Space cadets to the front.

First the "orange man", now the "Mario-cart-man".

Guess others will follow and the space race will begin.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Do they have Gundams or those transforming fighter jets from the Macross animes?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I hope it protects our personal space on the train.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This may be the boost we need for space exploration. I just wish it wasn't the military getting the ball rolling.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Aah, the caddie does as the boss. Hope these guys can get it together better than the Abenomasks.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

No Star Wars!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Japan is straight up copying the US.... next a super dooper missile?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Get ready for bankruptcy!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

A massive poster intelligence failure here. Space Defense is to protect a county from attack on it's satellites. Everyone forget that China recently test fired and shot down one of their old satellites? The ability to take down another country's communications and GPS systems is a real threat today and major nations are already all onboard. As far as "militarizing space" is concerned, all nations do it covertly, except for China which does it overtly. And for those who think an alien invasion is comming, yes, it will probably help there too..lol.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

China has had satellite destroying/ interfering technology for years. I assume that means other countries have it too. "We must adapt to the new security environment", rightfully said. Japan is just trying to keep up with what other countries are investing in heavily behind the scenes. A space arms race.

What WE all, the people of every country, must fight for is universal peace, understanding and equality. There is no US and THEM. We all share this planet and its environment. There needs to be a fundamental shift of financial and human resources to accommodate EVERYONE or no one will be happy.

Definitely need to stop being slaves to the 1%. Life is beautiful, let's start living it instead of trying to survive it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Hmm, really well thought out! When they have to send out an SOS, everyone will think it's just a regular Space Operations Squadron message!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Come to your senses. Step up your defenses against the real threat which is China.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

May the force be with you!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Protect Japan from Space Invaders, Pac-Mac, Donkey Kong and some Japan hater crybabies !!.. LOOOOOOOOL !!!!..

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Will they also have an Insignia that looks coincidentally like the communicators from Star Trek?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

kurisupisu:

Taking nationalistic pretenses into space will only lead to conflict.

But that is happening anyway, if you like it or not. Right now, one of the bigger problems seems to be the cloud of debris left over by Chinese satellite destruction trials.

Military satellites are a reality, space-based things like GPS are a reality, and various plans to take out each others systems in space are a reality. Sticking your head in the sand does not make that go away.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

How many Japanese satellites have been shot down over the past, oh, 50 years?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Maybe it's finally time to conquer space. I don't believe in that corona virus but hence economy is doomed I hope Japan will start producing spaceships like we could see in all that SF movies.

Now or right after this economy collapses build a new one based on space exploration!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Um, perhaps the government should be focusing on the fact that people are dying on the streets of Tokyo due to covid instead? But then again, doing the Trump "shake a shiny toy" thing to distract the nation from reality will work in the meantime.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

a new joke to take your TAX and to manipulate you more. Can I make a Team to protect the country against political escrows?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

got money for this trollop but still waiting for my ¥100,000!!!and two shabby masks!

what a waste of tax ---again!!!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Mr. Abe doesn't seem to get tired of copying US when it's secluded from the world.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ok 2 comments: 1. We can't even get along on earth and find peace around the world without conflicts, so what makes any government think it will find them their? 2. When or is the expected alien invasion arriving, because if this is the case, unless they know of the advanced tech brought to get them here from out there, we have lost.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ OssanAmerica

The USA shot down a satellite in 1985 and also threatened to shoot down the EU's Galileo navigation satellites whereas China has not threatened anyone.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

To insanity and beyond!

No. DO NOT weaponize space. That is where we actually work together for humanities common interest.

One tiny little war in space will create so much debris it will take out everybody's satellites, The ISS and set us back decades. Forget your cell phones, your GPS, Satellite TV and every other thing that space does for us. They will be gone permanently.

There will be so much space junk with the ability to cause so much damage we will not be going out there again.

The unit will cooperate with U.S. Space Command that President Donald Trump established last year

We have NASA. NASA's goal is peaceful space exploration. What is Space Force for other than to destroy everything NASA stands for and has achieved by weaponizing something that doesn't and shouldn't be weaponized.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Guys, guys stop with that protection from China. China is somehow a treat but we all know there will be no way. Big dogs have nukes and if any of them will use it then it will be over for all of us not only for China.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

weaponizing the vastness of space is quite ludicrous.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

How much is this going to cost the taxpayers, in a country that can't even manage to provide universal Covid-19 testing, adequate pensions or house the homeless? Invalid CSRF

4 ( +7 / -3 )

And once again, Abe and Co. jumping at the heels of Trump's lunacy and trying to please their master. How utterly embarrassing for Japan.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Hey Japan, the 1980's called to say that Ronald Reagan wants his Star Wars playbook back.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

S.O.S, is that a joke ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Money well spent. So many legit threats out there, like the Borg, Klingons, Cylons, First Order, Second Order...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wow! Japanese government and other governments cannot handle the mess on planet Earth, now they want to mess also there outer space!!!...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Let me get this straight. Japan can Launch a Space Defense program but cannot arrange for ¥100000 subsidy to its citizens in a quick manner and without any hesitation?

Am I understanding this right?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yeah and it was supposedly sooooo ridiculous when the USA did it first. Yet here we are now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

for people who are against militarizing space, do you suppose being sitting ducks for china's space fleet is a better option? this is the next frontier and the continuation of the new cold war.

the united states have already been testing their space/time bending propulsion systems since (at least) 2004. if you're curious to see it in action, check out the pentagon's recent declassified "ufo" videos.

 "Its changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I've ever encountered before flying against other air targets."

" the object appeared to dart from a high altitude of about 60,000 feet to a low altitude of 50 feet "within seconds"

"the ability to hover over the water, and then start a vertical climb, from basically zero up towards about 12,000 feet, and then accelerate in less than two seconds, and disappear."

"possibly demonstrated the ability to 'cloak' or become invisible to the human eye" 

no sonic boom, sound or heat signature.

these quotes from air force pilot eyewitnesses sound like the technology described in salvator pais' patents on high-temperature superconductors, gravitational wave generators, compact fusion reactors, high-energy electromagnetic field generators and hybrid aerospace-underwater craft. these patents are public record and property of the US navy.

there is also the push to ratify the NESARA act which

"Enables the release of over 6,000 patents of suppressed technologies that are being withheld from the public under the guise of national security, including free energy devices, antigravity, and sonic healing machines."

we're on the precipice of a new age... it's only a matter of time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Blacklabel: "Yeah and it was supposedly sooooo ridiculous when the USA did it first. Yet here we are now."

Still is ridiculous, but it's cute how you use Japan once again copying their masters as an attempt to show it NOT being ridiculous for Trump to create such a Super Duper thing. Classic!

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

I couldn't care less about space.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

By the time the threat is recognized, it will already be here anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Space, when U cannot even protect Japan ???on earth ???.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

borschtToday  10:14 am JST

How many Japanese satellites have been shot down over the past, oh, 50 years?

Well how many times has Japan been at war in the past 50 years? Duh.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If there is intelligent life out there, we probably look pretty stupid to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OssanAmerica: "Well how many times has Japan been at war in the past 50 years? Duh."

You're right -- Japan's pacifist Constitution has served it well. You, however, seem to want Japan to gear up and satellites get shot down, instead of them not being at war, and nothing being blown up.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Do not forget , all space programs are money black hole, be prepared to be well taxed.

Kono want to negotiate and escape with Alien under our names??? go back to your planet at first to listen the angry citizend!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

borsht:

How many Japanese satellites have been shot down over the past, oh, 50 years?

Unless I missed somthing, there has been no shooting war among the nations operating satellites. So what is your question about?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithjapan:

You're right -- Japan's pacifist Constitution has served it well. You, however, seem to want Japan to gear up and satellites get shot down, instead of them not being at war, and nothing being blown up.

Irrelevant. The debris clusters from Chinese weapons tests zapping around in space are a reality, and so is dealing with that reality. Whatever label you slap on the organization that deals with that does not matter.

If "Space Operations Squadron" upsets you, lets just call it "Smithjapan Not Happy". Better?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yep it’s all cute until China is the only one in space so they decide they can sprinkle coronavirus or something else down onto your country from space because you can’t do anything about it.

Still is ridiculous, but it's cute how you use Japan once again copying their masters as an attempt to show it NOT being ridiculous for Trump to create such a Super Duper thing. Classic!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Still is ridiculous, but it's cute how you use Japan once again copying their masters"

Someone is jealous that his country is so useless NOBODY wants it, even as a servant.

At least someone wants to "lord" over Japan; shows they have some residual value. Also a massive potential to cause damage to others, if left alone.

The complainant's country on the other hand can only (VERY) successfully threaten the baby seals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another waste of taxpayer money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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