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US, Japan sign pact at NASA HQ to explore deep space

The US space agency and Japan have signed an agreement that builds on a long history of collaboration in space exploration between the two nations.

From low-Earth orbit to the Moon and beyond, Japan is one of NASA’s most significant international partners.

“This latest framework agreement will allow us to further collaborate across our agencies’ broad portfolios in exploration, science, and research,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said late on Friday.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa signed the agreement at the NASA headquarters here.

“The future of space is collaborative. Through this agreement, our nations have strengthened our partnership in space and here on Earth. We will go farther and learn even more together,” said Blinken.

The signing is a highlight of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Washington, his first since taking office in 2021.

“I expect this agreement to vigorously promote Japan-US space cooperation and expand areas of cooperation for the Japan-US alliance, which is stronger than ever before,” said Kishida.

The pact recognises a mutual interest in peaceful exploration.

The framework covers a broad swath of joint activities between the countries, including space science, Earth science, space operations and exploration, aeronautical science and technology, space technology, space transportation, safety and mission assurance, and much more.

“I hope that Japan-US space cooperation will further deepen based on this agreement, as it will benefit the future of humanity,” said Yoshimasa.

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