In a virtual ceremony held on 11 June 2021, 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 a number of areas, including space applications, satellite development, and promotion of space industry.
“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.
Ambassador Laurel 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. “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.
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).