US, Japan sign deal to bolster cooperation on space

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The US and Japan signed an agreement Friday to further expand space cooperation between the two countries.

The signing ceremony at NASA headquarters in Washington was attended by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the administrator of the space agency, Bill Nelson.

Kishida said US-Japan space cooperation “entered a new era,” noting many ongoing projects that Japanese and American astronauts are working on together.

Blinken said the agreement will “strengthen our partnership in areas like research on space, technology, and transportation, robotic lunar surface missions, climate-related missions, and our shared ambition to see a Japanese astronaut on the lunar surface.”

Hayashi said the deal is of “extreme significance” with the expression and use of outer space growing increasingly.

Kishida met US President Joe Biden at the White House before the ceremony as they sought to bolster cooperation, particularly in defense, amid rising concerns about China.

Washington guaranteed it will defend Japanese territory in the event of an attack and assurance was expanded Wednesday to include attacks in space.—AA