The U.S. Space Force is exploring the possibility of setting up a unit in Japan, according to Gen. Chance Saltzman, the Chief of Space Operations. The move comes as China increasingly militarizes outer space and North Korea continues its missile and nuclear threats. While details are still being worked out, Saltzman stated that the planning phase is underway to determine the functions of the headquarters for the new command.
This development aligns with the United States’ efforts to enhance collaboration with Tokyo and its allied governments in the realm of space. With China and Russia posing significant competition, space utilization has become crucial for monitoring North Korea’s activities. The rogue nation has been conducting repeated ballistic missile tests since the previous year, raising concerns over its seventh nuclear test, the first since 2017.
The U.S. Space Force, established in December 2019, already has a presence in the Indo-Pacific region. In November of last year, it established a foothold under the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii. Additionally, the Space Force set up its first subordinate command in the Far East within the U.S. Forces Korea.
Further collaboration in space was agreed upon between Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and Gen. Chance Saltzman during their meeting in Tokyo. Japan, in line with its space security policy, has pledged to expand its defense use and contribute to space-related endeavors.
The establishment of a U.S. Space Force unit in Japan would enhance bilateral cooperation, bolster regional security, and enable more effective monitoring and response to space-based threats.