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Japan Space Industry

Japan’s space industry is known for applying its world-class industrial and technological skills is research and development (R&D). Now, Japan’s space industry is turning its focus from R&D to the commercialization of space technology, and Japanese government and industry are taking steps to foster its space business.  International cooperation between the U.S. and Japan started in 1969 with exchange of a “Japan-U.S. Joint Communique” on cooperation in space development. Since then, Japan participated in international projects, which are mainly led by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). CS Japan sees an expansion of collaboration between two countries in space exploration and science and research activities. CS Japan encourages new-to-market U.S. suppliers of space products that are seeking opportunities to sell to Japanese to seek local partnerships with specialized trading firms.

Many developments taking place to further deepen the space cooperation between the U.S. and Japan. In November 2022 NASA and the Government of Japan (GOJ) signed the Gateway Implementation agreement, which is a key component of NASA’s Artemis missions for long-term lunar exploration. Under the Gateway Implementation agreement, NASA will provide an opportunity for a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut to serve as a Gateway crew member on a future Artemis mission. In addition to the signing of the Gateway Implementation agreement, GOJ also announced government support for Extension of International Space Station (ISS) until 2030. Japan was the first country to sign up for the extension of ISS. In January 2023 in the presence of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Secretary of State Antony John Blinken and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi signed the Framework Agreement for Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, for Peaceful Purposes. Under this Framework Agreement U.S. and Japan plan to collaborate on space science, including lunar science; Earth science; space operations and exploration, including lunar operations and exploration; aeronautical science and technology; space technology; space transportation; safety and mission assurance; and other related opportunities. In March 2023 U.S. and Japan held a Comprehensive Dialogue on Space Track 1.5 to build on this agreement and strengthen cooperation across all sectors of space cooperation. In May 2023 GOJ plans to send a Trade Mission to the U.S. to increase business opportunities in space between the U.S. and Japan.

For more information about space market developments in Japan and related opportunities for U.S. firms, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service at