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Japan, US sign space co-operation agreement

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi shake hands after signing the ‘US-Japan Space Cooperation Framework Agreement' at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, on 13 January. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The United States and Japan have signed an agreement to deepen co-operation towards enhancing space capabilities.

The agreement was signed between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, on 13 January.

The agreement is aligned with the emphasis that Japan has put on space in its newly issued defence policies.

The US and Japan plan to collaborate on space science; space operations and exploration; space technology and transportation; Earth science; aeronautical science and technology; and safety and mission assurance, as well as other related opportunities, Blinken said in a media release issued by the US Department of State.

The agreement will strengthen bilateral co-operation on “robotic lunar surface missions, climate-related missions, and our shared ambition to see a Japanese astronaut on the lunar surface”, Blinken said during the signing ceremony.

Japan and the US also plan to hold a “Comprehensive Dialogue on Space in March 2023 to build on this agreement” and facilitate bilateral co-operation across a range of space sectors, Blinken added.

The US Department of State declined Janes' request for more information on the kind of space equipment and technologies that Japan and the US will jointly advance, as well as the initiatives planned under this agreement to bolster defence capabilities. The Japanese Ministry of Defense had not responded to Janes request for comments on the same at the time of publication.

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