Japan is following the United States’ lead and creating a military unit dedicated to space.
On Monday, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced during a policy speech that Japan will establish its own space defense unit to protect its orbital assets, according to the Associated Press.
The Space Domain Mission Unit will launch in April and will be a part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force. Initially, it will have a staff of approximately 20 people at Fuchū Air Base, but that number will increase following a full launch in 2022.
The Space Domain Mission Unit will be tasked with defending Japanese satellites from attacks, as well as “conduct[ing] satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field, rather than being on the ground,” the AP reports.
Japan plans for the unit to work closely with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the national equivalent of NASA, as well as the U.S. Space Command.
“We have elevated the relationship to one in which each of us, the U.S. and Japan, protects the other, thereby giving further force to the alliance,” Abe said during his speech, according to Defense Connect. “Going forward, it is incumbent upon us to make it even more robust, to make it a pillar for safeguarding peace and security in both outer space and cyber space.”
READ MORE: Abe says new unit will defend Japan from space tech threats [Associated Press]
More on space warfare: Head of US Space Command: Space Is “Clearly a Warfighting Domain”