Home > Leadership Development Seminars > 2. Social science & culture seminar > Space exploration and research, and Japanese national security

Space exploration and research, and Japanese national security

Date & Time: January 30, 2015 (Fri) 16:30-18:00
Place: C5 Lecture Room (C517), School of Science Building C
Lecturer: Dr. Alex Calvo (Guest Fellow of Nagoya University's Law School)
Language: English

He is a guest fellow on Japanese national security at Nagoya University's Law School, where he served as guest professor in October-December 2013 and 2014.
A law graduate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London), he has taught at European University (Barcelona Campus) and the OSCE Academy in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), among others.
He specializes in security and defence policy, military history, and international law, with a focus on the Indian-Pacific Ocean Region. Strongly interested in space, he follows Japan's space program, belongs to the British Interplanetary Society, and has taken a number of online courses on astronomy and exobiology.

'The Second World War in Central Asia: Events, Identity, and Memory'
'A Faraway War: the Turkish Brigade in Korea'
"China's Air Defence Identification Zone: Concept, Issues at Stake and Regional Impact", published by the US Naval War College

From its early days, space exploration and research has been strongly connected to defence, this being most clear in the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the case of Japan, on the other hand, space activities historically tended to be more closely connected to science, in accordance with the country's post-war restrictions on military activities. This was clear in the 1969 Diet resolution which restricted space development to peaceful purposes.
However, already in 2003 Tokyo launched her first two intelligence-gathering satellites, and this has been followed by a gradual yet constant expansion of Japanese national security-related space activities. Observers have cited, among other reasons for such development, North Korea's missile program, China's rise, increased US stress on space as the "fourth battlefield", private industry interests, and a lack of popular opposition. 2015 started with a government report laying down ambitious plans for the coming decade, with some newspapers explaining that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had labelled the text, which states that "the importance of space is getting bigger for safeguarding our security", as a "historic turning point". Japan's new space policy includes plans to set up a space force, part of the Self-Defence Forces, initially tasked with protecting satellites from orbiting debris and sharing such information with the United States. This may be seen as part of the rebalancing in the security alliance which is witnessing Tokyo assume greater responsibilities.
The lecture will provide an overview of these developments and examine the current and future factors which may keep providing incentives for Japan to further develop her military presence in space. It will present such steps in the context of the country's "normalization" as a military power and the evolving strategic landscape in East Asia and the wider Indian-Pacific Ocean Region, as well as the changing nature of the US-Japan Alliance. It will also discuss how other technological and political trends, including satellite miniaturization and growing defence cooperation with countries like the UK, may influence Japan's military space program.
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