17 January 2012. ESPI convened a workshop on Europe – Japan space cooperation with participation of prominent officials and experts from both countries.

ESPI organized, at its premises in Vienna, a workshop entitled “Europe – Japan Space Cooperation”. Four panels discussed various dimensions of Europe – Japan cooperation, including: exploration and access to space; Earth observation and related applications; industry-to-industry cooperation; and space security. After welcoming remarks by Peter Hulsroj, ESPI Director, the event was opened by Giuseppe Morsillo, Director of ESA Policies, Planning and Control, and Hirotoshi Kunitomo, Counsellor at the Secretariat of the Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy at Japan’s Cabinet Office. Mr. Morsillo observed that space is a key element of international cooperation and Japan has been a valued and reliable partner for Europe as evidenced by a number of cooperative ventures. Mr. Kunitomo stated that Japan now places greater emphasis on space utilization with international cooperation as a central component of the effective use of space for civil and security purposes.

Other workshop participants included Jiří Buriánek, Director of the EU Council’s Directorate for Competitiveness, Lisbon Strategy, Industry, Research, Information Society and Electronic Communications; Tetsuhiko Ikegami, Chairman of the Space Activities Commission at Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT); Andreas Lindenthal, Senior Vice President, Business Division Products, Astrium; Kaoru Mamiya, President of the Japan Space Forum (JSF); Naoto Matsuura, Secretary General of the Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC); Jana Robinson, ESPI Resident Fellow; Kazuto Suzuki, Professor of International Political Economy at the Public Policy School of Hokkaido University; Gerhard Thiele, ESPI Resident Fellow and former astronaut; Christophe Venet, Research Associate at the Space Policy Program, Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI); and Hirotaka Watanabe, Special Researcher at the Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University.

The panel on space exploration discussed the current status of activities in Europe and Japan, as well as priorities and the appropriate framework for future cooperation in this field (including multilateral deliberations). With regard to Earth observation, the overall architecture of Europe – Japan cooperation was reviewed, as well as the use of Earth observation for specific areas such as climate change and disaster management. It was underscored that enhancing Earth observation capabilities are a priority for both Europe and Japan. Such capabilities offer a significant socio-economic return and are driven by environmental and security requirements.

The participants in the industry panel discussion noted that there exists a global competition for the space market involving traditional players such as the U.S., Russia, Japan and Europe, but also newcomers like South Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, or Turkey,. Although practical obstacles remain, such as different management processes, quality systems and customer-supplier relations, Europe – Japan industry cooperation can, nonetheless, strengthen the competitiveness of their respective industries worldwide. As one part of space industry is dependent on institutional demand, strong political backing is necessary for improved cooperation in order to reduce existing barriers, risks and cost burdens.

The space security panel emphasized that all space activities are dependent on a stable, secure and sustainable environment. Coordination among nations to address space security-related challenges is more important than ever due to the growing amount of space debris, an increasing number of actors in space, the velocity of space-related developments, as well as the dual-use nature of space technologies. Japan, with the passage of a new Basic Law on Space in 2008 and the development of the National Space Plan in 2009, created new opportunities for the involvement of Tokyo in international efforts to address the most pressing space-related challenges. Accordingly, more active exchanges between Europe and Japan on enhancing space security would be mutually beneficial.

Conference speakers:
From top left: Gerhard Thiele (ESPI), Christophe Venet (IFRI), Andreas Lindenthal (Astrium), Kazuto Suzuki (Hokkaido University), Peter Hulstroj (ESPI Director), Hirotaka Watanabe (Osaka University). From bottom left: Jana Robinson (ESPI), Naoto Matsuura (RESTEC), Hirotoshi Kunitomo (Japan’s Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy), Giuseppe Morsillo (ESA), Tetsuhiko Ikegami (MEXT), Jiří Buriánek (EU Council), Kaoru Mamiya (JSF)

The workshop was conducted as part of an ESPI’s project entitled “Europe-Japan Strategic Partnership: the Space Dimension” that will result in an ESPI Report scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012. The project was officially launched in Tokyo last March.

Related webnews:
- 14 March 2011: ESPI meets with high-level officials in Japan

- Workshop Agenda
- Opening remarks and presentations

Photo Credit:ESPI

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