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Japan Eyes Own Early Warning Satellite

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Nov 5, 2008
The Japanese government is slowly moving towards a decision to launch its own early warning ballistic missile defense satellite, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Tokyo newspaper said it had received access to a draft plan for ballistic missile defense drawn up by the secretariat of the Japanese government's headquarters for space development strategy. The report calls for an assessment on the value of deploying an early warning satellite that could monitor any potentially hostile missile launch.

In addition, the draft plan recommends carrying out a feasibility study on launching more civilian comsats -- communications satellites.

The plan also suggests Japan should start building smaller short-range and medium-range missiles for its Defense Forces, in addition to the bigger H-2A missiles currently in use.

The Yomiuri Shimbun said this language may be an indirect way of pushing through approval to build the GX missile that has become a matter of some controversy.

Old-fashioned bureaucrats who are opposed to Prime Minister Taro Aso's drive to develop a military space capability for Japan have opposed the GX project, and they managed to get the Space Activities Commission of the nation's Education Ministry, a stronghold for the old, cautious, pure research, non-military tradition in Japanese official space policymaking, to take a position opposing GX development.

"While many question the need to go ahead with the GX development project, (this plan) is tantamount to approving it," one official told the newspaper.

However, the draft plan looks set to be smoothly approved and then implemented as national policy within the national budget for Fiscal Year 2009. The Yomiuri Shimbun said that at a meeting of the space development strategy secretariat Tuesday, it sent the draft plan on to be finally agreed upon at a second meeting to be held Nov. 27.

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Russian missile proposal 'disappointing,' US says
Washington (AFP) Nov 5, 2008
The United States said Wednesday that Russia's plan to deploy missiles in retaliation for a proposed US anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic is "disappointing."

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