A Call for Space Budget Increase
- Improving Our Quality of Life on Earth -

(Tentative Translation)

June 21, 1995

(The Japan Federation of Economic Organizations)

I) The Importance of Space Development

Science and technology have played vital roles in Japan's economic growth in recent years. In the 21st century, space development programs should be a top priority on Japan's science and technology agenda, which could possibly apply space technology to private use in order to create a wide variety of new industries. Given Japan's goal of becoming a country of one of the most advanced scientific and technological countries, space research and development should be the appropriate field to pursue.

In addition, Satellites are now being used for many purposes such as environmental observation, monitoring natural disasters, telecommunications and broadcasting services, meteorological observation and navigation. Space technologies can help private manufacturers to improve the design and quality of consumer products, making them smaller, lighter, more durable and reliable: Actually the dual use technology has been used for such products as car navigation system, international telecommunication system, weather forecast and carbon fiber plastics. Most of all, space development could improve the quality of life for both our citizen and those in the global community.

As a result of the big earthquake in Kobe, the research and development upon satellite technology has been focused upon monitoring natural hazard.

Space development is also an excellent area in which Japan can make a contribution to international community by sharing its expertise. Ongoing space discovery to explore the origin of the universe, Japan's growing awareness and involvement in space development will be definitely welcomed.

The business community is committed to working cooperatively with the government to set up the information service in relation to space development in order to help promote public understanding in this field. Considering the benefits that will derive from space development: technological advances which will make our lives safer and more comfortably, Keidanren proposed that the government should set the following projects as top priorities in the government agenda in drafting next year's budget for space development.

II) Top Priority Projects over the Short-Term

  1. Research and Development for Future Space Transportation

    Through three successful missions by H-II Rocket, which could lead the development of an independent exploration vehicle in the space, Japanese government should aim higher goal to diversify its activities in the space. In this respect, development of a reusable, winged spacecraft called HOPE (H-II orbiting plane) could play a critical role and, therefore, the first test craft should be developed soon. And more importantly, we believe that our work for this purpose should begin in making an advanced version of the H-II Rocket which could meet diversified needs and ensure international competitiveness for Japan's space industry.

  2. Development of a Global Satellite Observation System

    Japan should develop a global satellite observation system, in cooperation with other nations, which can respond to the global environmental protection and disaster warning, especially focusing upon the Asian region. For this purpose, the government should promptly make plans to prepare such a system mentioned above, and realize it soon, in order to secure that Japan as well as other Asian countries can rely on the advanced technology which offers disaster readiness. We must also adapt comprehensive plans to utilize data transmitted from the satellite for other purposes.

  3. Promotion of the Space Station Program

    We encourage the government to endorse the Space Station Program which is under cooperation with other nations. It could provide Japan of excellent research opportunities in the space environment.

  4. Exploring New Frontiers in Space

    The JEM, Japanese Experimental Module, served as an "orbital laboratory" to the space station, can carry out essential research to create new technologies for whole new industries. In order to utilize JEM's capability, as an early stage, preparatory experiments should be conducted in Japan by using a drop tower and small rockets to simulate conditions in space environment. In addition, further training opportunities should be given to Japanese astronauts who need adjustment and more experience in conducting experiments in a space environment through the American Space Shuttle program or other bilateral space programs.

  5. Development of Satellite Technology in Telecommunications and Broadcasting

    Further R&D is needed in the field of large-capacity, and high-speed satellite communication system, if we are to develop the technological capability to meet the tremendous amount of data transmission and to upgrade the telecommunication infrastructure. We must also focus upon the development of satellites which can meet the technological demands for the next generation of mobile communication and broadcasting system, which could bring us portable cellular phone with high quality voice.

    Furthermore, the new application of satellite communications should be reexamined.

  6. Space Research

    Japan's Space Research Program has been continued focusing primarily on scientific observation use through satellites developed by the Institute of Space and Astronomical Science. As a result of these efforts, in some area, Japan's technology which has contributed to the discovery of the universe, outgoes other leading countries.

    With the launch of a new, big sized M-V Rocket scheduled in '96, Japan's space research program will enter a new era giving a new momentum to promote the program further.

    However, all the projects mentioned above must be cost effective through the cooperation between the public and private-sectors, considering the importance of reliability and innovation of these programs.

III) Medium and Long-Term Projects

In addition to continued budgetary support for short-term projects, we suggest that the following four points should be considered in the future budgetary funding over the medium and long-term basis:

  1. The policy making for space industry should be focused primarily on the promotion of the commercialization,
  2. Embodying a whole global observation system,
  3. Scheduled use of the JEM during space station operation,
  4. Development of a fully re-usable space transportation system, orbital services including robotics technology, lunar and other planet expedition and manned space activities.

IV) Huge Budgetary Increase for the Space Development

  1. According to the July '94 report of the Space Activities Commission's Special Committee on Long-Term Vision, it stresses the need to provide about seven trillion yen in funding for space-related activities over the next 15 years. Through the period of this 15 years, the annual budget requires average about a half trillion yen each year. We, therefore, suggest that '96 budget for the space program should be increased reflecting on the expected future expansion.

  2. Since satellite service is very effective in setting up safety measures against natural hazard for such wide variety of activities as monitoring the degree of destruction, emergency communications and timely broadcasting, the government should increase the budget for the space development. In this regard, we suggest that the government should consider the space development program as one effective and important means of public investment to be a part of the Basic Plan for Public Investment.

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