Japan joins US by announcing space force in face of new threats

Japan’s prime minister has announced his country will create a space defence force, in an effort to protect it from technological threats.

Working closely with US President Donald Trump, the unit will protect Japan’s interstellar interests, such as satellites and rockets – rather than fighting cinematic-style battles across the galaxy as the name suggests.

Speaking on Monday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wanted his country to defend itself from cyber threats, or from electromagnetic interference to its satellites.

The great grandson Merrill Eisenhower Atwater (bottom L) and granddaughter Mary Jean Eisenhower (bottom C) of former US President Dwight Eisenhower, and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pose for a group photo as part of the 60th anniversary commemorative reception of the signing of the Japan-US security treaty at Iikura Guesthouse in Tokyo on January 19, 2020. (Photo by Eugene Hoshiko / POOL / AFP) (Photo by EUGENE HOSHIKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Image: The space forced was launched at an event about Japan/US relations

There are growing fears that countries such as China and Russia are trying to find ways to disable and interfere with satellites, which could seriously disrupt global communications.

Japan’s Space Domain Mission Unit will begin work in April, and be added to an existing air base in Fuchu, close to Tokyo.


It will initially be staffed with 20 people, with a view to adding more people to the force over the course of the year.

Mr Abe’s government approved spending 50.6 billion yen (£354m) on the project at the end of 2019.

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The prime minister has previously spoken of his desire to expand his military’s international role, by improving communication and weapons development in-line with the US, as he tries to work with Mr Trump against the increasing capabilities of regional neighbours such as North Korea and China.

The event reaffirmed Japan's commitment to working with the US Image: The event reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to working with the US

The US Space Force launched in December in an effort to assert its superiority in great unknown, with Mr Trump saying “space is the world’s new war-fighting domain”.

However, the new military unit was mocked last week when it revealed its new camouflage uniforms, with many pointing out that they are unlikely to be effective against the backdrop of space.