International Institute of Space Law

Article

Can Japan Launch Itself into Becoming a Leader in Global Space Business with Its New Space Legislation?

Keywords Japan, Space Startups, Space Activities Act, New Space Business, Venture Capital
Authors Masaya Uchino
Author's information

Masaya Uchino
ZeLo Law, Attorney-at-Law qualified in the United States (California and Hawaii).
  • Abstract

      On November 2016, the Japanese Diet passed the Space Activities Act (“SAA”) and the Satellite Remote Sensing Act in an effort to modernize its domestic space legislation and encourage its small but growing private sector to become global leaders in burgeoning new types of space business. This paper will examine whether it is feasible for these new laws to propel Japan enough to catch up with current market leaders such as SpaceX in the United States. The paper will have three parts. First, the paper will outline the legal regime that applies to the Japanese space industry. Second, the paper will analyze the impact of Japan’s new space legislation and provide a comparative analysis of how they measure up to other space-faring nations’ space laws. The paper will find that various aspects of Japan’s new space laws have great potential to attract significant foreign space business to be conducted in Japan. The third part of the paper examines whether the country’s economy can take advantage of these new legal developments and spur growth among startups. This article discusses how the Silicon Valley model may not be compatible with the financial culture in Japan. After examining how currently thriving startups are financed by corporate investments, the paper concludes that corporations need to finance space startups in more traditional forms of financing in Japan in order to infuse capital into the space industry. Drawing from legal and financial experts, this paper concludes that both legal and financial aspects are coming together for Japanese private space business. Depending on the industry’s momentum, the SAA may launch Japan to become globally competitive in the near future.

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