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Philippines, Japan Sign Space Cooperation Agreement

Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Director-General Joel Joseph S. Marciano (upper right) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) President YAMAKAWA Hiroshi (upper left) holding the signed the Agreement on Space Cooperation, overseen by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V (lower right) and Japanese Ambassador to Philippines KOSHIKAWA Kazuhiko (lower left).

11 June 2021 – In a virtual ceremony held today, the Philippines and Japan signed an agreement on space cooperation. Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr., Director General, Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) signed on behalf of the Philippines, while Dr. YAMAKAWA Hiroshi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) President signed for Japan.

The Memorandum of Cooperation aims to provide a framework of cooperation in the following areas: space applications; satellite development; space environment utilization; capacity building for space related technology development, space policy and legislation; space science and space exploration; and promotion of space industry. The two organizations may also identify other areas of cooperation.

“As we sign this agreement, we look back to what our country has been able to achieve in space over a relatively short period of time, and how Japan has contributed substantially to those efforts. Today, with JAXA, we look to further that cooperation as we continue to build forward, inspire, and open more opportunities for Filipinos to access and benefit from space”, remarked Dr. Marciano. “We bring to this cooperation our people and their experience from the Diwata and Maya satellites, along with our investments in ground infrastructure and capabilities for processing and analyzing spaceborne data. Together, we will create even more value from these activities and cascade them further to society” he adds.

PhilSA Director-General Marciano and JAXA President YAMAKAWA Hiroshi signing the Memorandum of Cooperation on Space Cooperation, on behalf of the Philippines and Japan, respectively.

Ambassador Laurel who was also present at the ceremony commended both parties for this achievement noting that this year also marks the 65th anniversary of Philippines-Japan relations and the 10th year of both countries’ Strategic Partnership. “The signing of the MOC opens the door wider into that future. I congratulate PhilSA and JAXA in laying this groundwork, and I, along with my colleagues in the Embassy, am proud to be part of this effort, because our small investments today will mobilize generations who come after us in their bid to conquer new frontiers. Today is indeed a fitting tribute to a remarkable bilateral relationship,” Ambassador Laurel stated.

By virtue of the Philippine Space Act, PhilSA was established in 2019 as the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications.

This year, the Philippines’ Maya-2 CubeSat was transported to the International Space Station through JAXA, and released into space to conduct scientific demonstration of imaging and store-and-forward communications. Maya-2 was completed by Filipino engineers in cooperation with the Kyushu Institute of Technology, with funding from the Philippine government through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Other satellites such as the Diwata microsatellites were also completed in collaboration with Japanese universities and launched through JAXA.

The Philippines also continues to engage in various activities spearheaded by JAXA, such as the annual Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF), the National Space Legislation Initiative (NSLI) and the Sentinel Asia. The Philippines, which hosted the APRSAF in 2016, has been regularly participating in its various working groups as a venue for exchanging experiences and best practices in space development and utilization. Through the efforts of the PhilSA and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the country also contributed to the drafting of the NSLI report, which was submitted to the 60th session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). Through Sentinel Asia, the Philippines is able to obtain additional support for disaster management through Earth observation satellite data, geographic information systems and other space-based technologies.