Following in the footsteps of President Trump's newly-formed Space Force and United State Space Command, the sixth branch of the military aimed at monitoring and guarding America's outer space interests, Japan has now unveiled ambitious plans of their own for a separate protective entity to watch over their nation's space-based assets.
On Monday, during a speech to kick off the year's parliamentary session, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed that his country will form a space defense unit to protect itself from potential threats as rivals continue to develop missiles and other advanced technology, while also indicating that this new enterprise will work hand-in-hand with its American counterpart launched by President Trump.
Officially named the Space Domain Mission Unit, this administrative and combatant command section will begin in April as a component of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force, operating off an as-yet unapproved 50.6 billion yen (U.S. $459.2 million) budget for future space-centric projects.
This newly-announced space division mirrors our own comprehensive plan detailed on Twitter back in December of 2018, when Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan indicated that Space Force and the Space Command were not the same entity, but will be unified companion divisions, with Space Force serving as a force provider for personnel, assets, and capabilities supporting space operations, and Space Command acting as the operational command that will employ space capabilities and head-up space operations.
Prime Minister Abe added that Japan needs to be vigilant in defending itself from cyberspace threats and dangerous electromagnetic interference targeted against Japanese-owned satellites.
“We have elevated the relationship to one in which each of us, the U.S. and Japan, protects the other, thereby giving further force to the alliance,” Abe explained during his speech. “Going forward, it is incumbent upon us to make it even more robust, to make it a pillar for safeguarding peace and security in both outer space and cyber space.”
The Space Domain Mission Unit and its lofty operations are destined to be folded into an existing air base at Fuchu in Tokyo's western suburbs, where it will be staffed by approximately 20 people in anticipation of a full-scale rollout in 2022.
What are your thoughts on Japan's new space branch and will their uniforms be more appealing than the boring camo-printed offerings recently revealed by the U.S. Space Force?