Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP3 – A Guide to Japan's Space Policy Formulation: Structures, Roles and Strategies of Ministries and Agencies for Space

April 11, 2019

The Japanese government’s organizational structure and policy processes for outer space programs have evolved over time, and now the government has completed its restructuring. Fifty years ago, the Japanese government restricted national space activities to “peaceful purposes,” which was interpreted as non-military activities. As a consequence, Japan’s space programs, including the government’s utilization of space systems, were rationalized on the basis of scientific purposes. Today, technological advancements and changes in both internal and external political circumstances led the government to accept and pursue a full-spectrum national space policy that includes military usage. The government codified these changes and created the first national law for space in 2008. The law established a Cabinet-level headquarters to develop and lead Japan’s space policy. In addition, organizational reforms in 2012 affected ministries’ and agencies’ roles, responsibilities, and national space policy processes. This paper is a resource for researchers of Japan’s space policy. It will allow them to easily and comprehensively understand how Japan’s national space policy is being formulated. The first section of this paper aims at clarifying the Japanese government’s current organizational structures, roles and strategies in space policy. The second section provides an overview of two national space policy pillars: national military space strategies and commercial space initiatives.