Connecting People & Ideas to Advance Mutual Interests in U.S.- Asia Relations

U.S.-Japan Space Forum

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The U.S.-Japan Space Forum (USJSF) is a standing committee of American and Japanese space policy experts and officials, meeting twice yearly to examine critical developments and opportunities for bilateral and multilateral space-related activities. This forum runs roughly in parallel to the U.S.-Japan track-1 “Comprehensive Dialogue on Space.” Reflecting the increasingly important role of the private sector in national space capabilities, the Forum integrates the perspectives of a wide array of experts, including corporate, academic, and other non-government players, in an informal environment that is conducive to creative and frank discourse. The USJSF is co-chaired by Mansfield Foundation President Frank Jannuzi and Saadia Pekkanen of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.

Since its inception in 2014, the U.S.-Japan Space Forum has met four times to discuss bilateral space collaboration against the backdrop of the United States’ rebalance to Asia, recent revisions to U.S.-Japan defense guidelines, and Japan’s ongoing national conversation about the role and limits of its defense activities. Over these four meetings the Forum has addressed policy trajectories and technical capabilities in the United States and Japan related to launchers, satellites, and the use of space technologies for civilian, commercial and military applications. Without necessarily presuming uniformity of space policy interests between the U.S. and Japanese governments and private sector entities, Forum members have reflected on the broader context of the bilateral security alliance, the strategic and competitive landscape, and global norms of behavior in space practices.

UntitledUSJSF meets for its inaugural meeting in Missoula, Montana in 2014

Aiming to contribute to a stronger basis for coordination of space policy and governance, the U.S.-Japan Space Forum strives to deliver policy recommendations addressing bilateral cooperation in the realm of space technologies, policies, and strategic direction. Towards this goal, USJSF meetings have focused on domestic, regional, and global realities and identified both mid-term objectives and near-term priorities for bilateral cooperation on outer space activities.

In July 2016, the U.S.-Japan Space Forum published the above Recommendations for the Japan-U.S. Comprehensive Space Dialogues / 日米宇宙フォーラム:「宇宙に関する包括的日米対話」への提言. This publication supersedes an earlier Forum publication: Mid-Term Objectives and Near-Term Priorities for Japan-U.S. Space Cooperation.


Washington, D.C. Seminar, September 9, 2016




Diet Member Karen Makishima speaks at the September 9th, 2016 U.S.-Japan Space Forum seminar at the George Washington University Space Policy Institute



On September 9th 2016, Karen Makishima, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives, joined members of the Mansfield Foundation U.S.-Japan Space Forum for a discussion on bilateral space collaboration.  The event, a public seminar co-hosted by the Mansfield Foundation and the George Washington University Space Policy Institute, highlighted the rollout of the Forum’s Recommendations for the Japan-U.S. Comprehensive Dialogue.  Dr. Makishima, a former Cabinet Office Vice Minister, and a leading voice on norms-setting in space activities, discussed the significance of space within Japan’s broader priorities, and the important role of U.S.-Japan space collaboration.  The September 9 seminar also invited comments from members of the broader defense and space policy communities in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, who shared perspectives on space in American defense strategy, opportunities for advancing multilateral collaboration on space, and the intersection of the space private and public sectors.  The public event followed a series of targeted outreach meetings over the preceding weeks, featuring discussions in Tokyo and Washington with U.S. congressional offices and members of Japan’s Diet and government.

Meeting 4, Seattle, March 14-16, 2016

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USJSF meeting at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) in Seattle, 2016



In March 2016, the Forum met in Seattle Washington, which has emerged as one of the hotspots for American space innovation and new industry activity. The meeting provided opportunities to discuss the forum’s concerns with some of the organizations at the forefront of American space innovation, including Seattle-area firms Aerojet Rocketdyne, Tethers Unlimited, Planetary Resources, Vulcan Aerospace, Blacksky, and Space Angels Network.  The group also heard U.S. military perspectives on the revised Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation and bilateral space collaboration from representatives of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. The meeting provided a view of American space activities from “outside of the bubble” of Washington, D.C., that emphasized some of the implications for space practitioners of evolving American space policies and regulations.

During the Seattle meeting, the Forum partnered with the Museum of Flight, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), and the International Policy Institute at the University of Washington Jackson School to host “The U.S.-Japan Space Forum: Space in the U.S.-Japan Alliance.” The event, which featured a panel discussion on “Space in the U.S.-Japan Alliance:  Threats and Opportunities,” afforded the group an opportunity to share findings with a public audience.

Meeting 3, Washington, D.C., December 9-10, 2015




The Honorable Takeo Kawamura and the Honorable Dana Rohrbacher with USJSF Co-chairs Saadia Pekkanen and Frank Jannuzi



In December of 2015, members of the Forum convened in Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings and a public symposium on Capitol Hill. The Forum discussed its Objectives and Priorities with experts in the Washington, D.C. space and foreign policy communities, including officials responsible for formulating foreign policy of the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns.  Officials with whom the group met include: Assistant Secretary Frank Rose (Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, U.S. Department of State), the Honorable Kurt Campbell (former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia), alumni Mansfield Fellow John Hill (Principal Director, Space Policy Office, U.S. Department of Defense), Japan policy and space policy directors at the U.S. National Security Council, Christopher Johnstone and Chirag Parikh, and representatives from NASA, NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and the White House. Underscoring the significance of U.S.-Japan space collaboration, Takeo Kawamura (Member, Japan’s House of Representatives) and Yoshinori Komiya (Director General, Office of National Space Policy) were among several special guests from Japan.

Mr. Kawamura and Mr. Komiya were featured speakers at the December 10 symposium on “Asia’s Space Race and the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” where they were joined by three members of the U.S. House of Representatives — Joaquin Castro, Jim McDermott, and Dana Rohrabacher.  Each of the legislators highlighted the importance of U.S.-Japan space collaboration.  Mr. Kawamura called for deeper bilateral cooperation in space in the context of the U.S.-Japan security alliance.  He also noted that the United States and Japan should act as equal partners, a point seconded by Rep. Rohrabacher.  Mr. Komiya and Chirag Parikh followed the legislators’ comments with overviews of their countries’ space strategies.

Meeting 2, Tokyo, December 7-11, 2014

After publishing a set of Mid-Term Objectives and Near-Term Priorities for Japan-U.S. Space Cooperation, the group convened for a second meeting in Tokyo in December. The Tokyo meeting afforded the USJSF members the opportunity to engage directly with Japan’s space policy community, including officials from the Japanese government, industry representatives, the U.S. Embassy, and the public. The Tokyo workshop was intended not as a final step, but as an interim step that achieved two complementary goals: firstly, to use the Objectives and Priorities publication as interim recommendations reflecting the group’s concerns on space policy Nat a time of unprecedented fluidity in Japan’s post-WWII security policy. Secondly, the group aimed to receive feedback on the US JSF’s initial conclusions in the interest of refining its recommendations into a more final and formal product for delivery to the broader American and Japanese policy communities.

The USJSF met with those Japanese institutions most directly involved in Japanese space policy and the U.S.-Japan track-1 Comprehensive Dialogue in order to elicit further elaboration on and explanation of current government thinking and action on space policy. Meetings included the Office of National Space Policy within the Cabinet Office, the Japan National Security Council, MOFA, METI, MEXT, MOD, Japanese media, and a public audience of roughly eighty individuals at a Keio University seminar. Reflecting the group’s emphasis on the increasingly vital role of the private sector in national space objectives, the USJSF sought to understand more fully how it can play a role in helping to align national and bilateral space policy objectives with the capabilities, needs, and realities of the two countries’ private sectors.

Meeting 1, Missoula, Montana, June 28-30, 2014

On June 28th and 29th, the Forum convened for the first time for a retreat in Missoula, Montana. The broad themes of the meeting were the United States’ “rebalance to Asia,” deliberations on the future of the U.S.-Japan alliance, and the rapidly diminishing barriers to entry that are allowing an increasing array of actors in space. Over two days of private workshops and informal opportunities for conversation, group members worked within this context to locate and integrate various perspectives and concerns from government, academia, and the private sector, seeking to condense the conversation into an effective format for enhancing space and bilateral policy conversations. Ultimately, the group produced a draft set of Mid-Term Objectives and Near-Term Priorities for Japan-U.S. Space Cooperation.

Next Steps

Forum members have observed that, in addition to some of the innovation and energy that Japan’s traditional space industry members are bringing to moderns space activities, Japan is also home to a number of new industry entrants, which are helping to push the boundaries of human activity in space.  The Forum will return to Japan in 2017, meeting in Nagoya to discuss “outside the bubble” priorities and concerns with not only longer-standing members of Japan’s space and aerospace community, but also some of the “new entrants.”

Several months following its Japan meeting, the Forum will convene once again in Washington, D.C. in order to discuss with members of the new U.S. administration of the role of the U.S.-Japan space partnership, and its unique importance for U.S. National Security. The outreach will aim to bridge the defense, foreign policy, and space policy communities and help ensure that the importance and potential of U.S.-Japan collaboration on space is fully appreciated across the relevant areas of the U.S. government.


Masao Akiyama, IHI Aerospace Co., Ltd.
Koji Amemiya, Mitsubishi International Corporation
Setsuko Aoki, Keio University
Shoichiro Asada, MHI
Michael Fletcher, NASA/Mansfield Fellow
Hiroyuki Hatada, METI
Frank Jannuzi, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation (Co-Chair)
Ed Jew, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
Koichi Kishi, NEC
Hiroshi Koyama, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Hideshi Kozawa, NEC
Ronald Lopez, Boeing
Hector Marcias, Northrop Grumman Corporation
Peter Marquez, Planetary Resources
John Mittleman, U.S. Naval Research Lab
Robert Morrissey, Raytheon
Geoff Nunn, Museum of Flight, Seattle
Scott Pace, George Washington University
Saadia Pekkanen, University of Washington (Co-Chair)
Ryan Shaffer, Mansfield Foundation (Program Director)
Sheila Smith, Council on Foreign Relations
Masakazu Toyoda, Institute of Energy Economics Japan
Hiroshi Yamakawa, Kyoto University

Program Sponsors

The U.S.-Japan Space Forum is made possible by a generous grant from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission


Additional Support from:


IHI Aero Space

Lockheed Martin



In Kind Support from:

Keio Planetary