U.S. and Japan sign Space Cooperation Framework Agreement

U.S. and Japan sign Space Cooperation Framework Agreement

U.S. and Japan sign Space Cooperation Framework Agreement

WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan signed an agreement Jan. 13 to allow for increased cooperation between the two countries in space exploration, but without announcing new initiatives.

In a brief ceremony at NASA Headquarters attended by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other officials, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed the Framework Agreement with his Japanese counterpart, Secretary of State foreign Yoshimasa Hayashi.

“U.S.-Japan space cooperation has entered a new era with Project Artemis, and many projects, including lunar activities, are already being worked on by Japanese and American astronauts,” Kishida said per the intermediary of a translator during the ceremony. “I sincerely hope that this agreement will further promote our space cooperation and also expand the scope of cooperation within the framework of the Japan-US alliance.”

Neither the U.S. nor Japanese governments have released the text of the agreement itself, titled “Framework Agreement Between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States of America for Cooperation in Space Exploration and Space ‘use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial objects’. Body, for peaceful purposes. NASA, in a statement on the agreement, described it as covering “a wide range of joint activities between the countries”, such as aeronautics, space science and exploration.

The United States and Canada signed an agreement of the same name in 2009 — Framework Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America for Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of outer space for peaceful purposes. This agreement established what it describes as an “overarching legal framework to facilitate the conclusion of implementing arrangements for cooperation” between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.

“The framework agreement we are about to sign will take our cooperation to new heights,” Blinken said at the ceremony. “It will strengthen our partnership in areas such as space technology and transportation research, robotic missions to the lunar surface, climate-related missions, and our shared ambition to see a Japanese astronaut on the lunar surface.”

Hayashi said he expected the agreement to cover future cooperation between the two countries on Artemis, including Japanese plans to develop a pressurized rover for later missions. “With the conclusion of this agreement between our two countries, many cooperation projects,” he said, “will be carried out effectively.”

None of the officials present at the event announced specific new cooperation projects enabled by the agreement. NASA and the Japanese government signed an agreement in November finalizing Japan’s contributions to the Lunar Gateway which also confirmed that Japan would participate in the International Space Station until 2030. As part of the agreement, NASA will fly a Japanese astronaut to the Gateway on a future Artemis mission.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at the ceremony that he and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy would travel to Japan in February “to strengthen ties between NASA and JAXA.” He did not specify his plans for this trip.

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