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Abe says new unit will defend Japan from space tech threats

Tokyo: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Japan will form a space defense unit to protect itself from potential threats as rivals develop missiles and other technology and the new unit will work closely with its American counterpart recently launched by President Donald Trump.

The Space Domain Mission Unit will start in April as part of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force, Abe said in a policy speech marking the start of the year's parliamentary session.

He said Japan must also defend itself from threats in cyberspace and from electromagnetic interference against Japanese satellites. Concerns are growing that China and Russia are seeking ways to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.

"We will drastically bolster capability and system in order to secure superiority in those areas, Abe said.

The space unit will be added to an existing air base at Fuchu in the western suburbs of Tokyo, where about 20 people will be staffed ahead of a full launch in 2022.

The role of the space unit is to conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field, rather than being on the

ground.

Abe's Cabinet in December approved 50.6 billion yen (USD 460 million) budget in space-related projects, pending parliamentary approval.

The unit will cooperate with the US Space Command that Trump established in August, as well as Japan's space exploration agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Underscoring the need to step up cyber security, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. revealed Monday that it had suffered a cyber attack last June that may have compromised personal and corporate data involving thousands of its job applicants, employees and

retirees. agencies

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