Japan has reportedly launched a new space defence unit called the Space Operations Squadron, part of Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF or Kōkū Jieitai) to protect the Japanese satellites from threats. This is the first Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ unit dedicated to outer space and will be based in Fuchu in Tokyo. Defense Minister KONO Taro conferred the official flag of the squadron on its commander. The squadron of approximately 20 members ensures the stable use of space domain through space situational awareness operations.
Located at Fuchu Air Base, it develops space operations, trains space professionals and cooperates with the US Space Command, which was established last year by US President Donald Trump, and Japan’s space exploration agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).. The Space Operations Squadron has commenced with 20 members. Once it is fully operational by 2023, JASDF expects the team to grow to approximately 100 members. The squadron has been launched amidst the growing Japanese concerns that China and Russia seek methods to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.
Japanese space force aims to launch its first satellite for assessing the space environment by 2026. The unit will emphasis on monitoring, countering and protecting the Japanese satellites from threats including enemy attacks or space debris. It will also conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field. As early as Fiscal Year 2021, the service’s name will change to the Japan Aerospace Self-Defense Force in recognition of the increasing importance of the space domain.