Japan to launch space force
JAPAN is planning to launch a military space force by 2019 that would initially be tasked with protecting satellites from dangerous debris orbiting the earth, a report said.
The move is aimed at strengthening Japan-United States cooperation in space, and comes after the countries pledged to boost joint work on monitoring space debris.
Japan would provide the US military with information obtained by the force as part of the joint bid to strengthen ties in space, the so-called "fourth battlefield", Kyodo news agency said.
Japan's defence ministry is looking at creating the new force using personnel from the Air Self-Defence Force, the country's air force, it added.
Thousands of pieces of debris - including old satellites as well as pieces of rockets and other space equipment - are orbiting the earth and threaten to collide with functioning communications and reconnaissance satellites.