December 7: US-Japan-Asia Space Security Relations: Strategic Imperatives for Cooperation

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December 7, 2012: Crystal Pryor
(Click to enlarge) Left to Right: 2012 Japan Studies Visiting Fellow, Crystal Pryor, and discussant Dr. James Clay Moltz take a question from the floor at Pryor's presentation at the East-West Center in Washington.
(Click to enlarge) Left to Right: 2012 Japan Studies Visiting Fellow, Crystal Pryor, and discussant Dr. James Clay Moltz take a question from the floor at Pryor's presentation at the East-West Center in Washington.

U.S.-Japan-Asia Space Security Relations: Potential amidst Uncertainty

WASHINGTON, DC (December 7, 2012) – Over the past two decades, countries around the globe have become increasingly dependent on outer space for civil, military, and commercial purposes. Yet recent events in space have threatened its peaceful use, including provocative satellite shootings and the ever-growing threat of space debris. Moreover, new entrants to the once-exclusive group of space-faring nations present a challenge to existing space powers, bringing divergent views about the appropriate use of space.

2012 East-West Center Japan Studies Fellow, Crystal Pryor argued that Japan—as the United States’ primary security partner in the Pacific, a top collaborator in space technology, and a significant space power in in its own right—has a unique opportunity to work together with the US to protect the global commons of space. This opportunity is enhanced by the recent revisions in Japan’s legal and government-level approaches to space, industry’s growing interest in space technology, and the United States’ recent “pivot to Asia.” Japan, if it can seize the strategic initiative, can play a key role in space security relations in the region. However, if Japan doesn’t clarify its space strategy soon, she argued, it may be passed over for countries with a more cohesive understanding of the role space plays in their national security policy.

Serving as a discussant, Dr. James Clay Moltz, a Space Security and Northeast Asia Security expert from the Naval Postgraduate School, provided regional context for Pryor's presentation. He explained how the competitive environment of space has changed since the Cold War and how the most dynamic new players have emerged in Asia. Of these, he characterizes Japan as Asia's leader in space, even with its program traditionally focused on scientific and civilian uses of space only. He echoed Pryor's assertation that Japan is well placed to become a US-partner in the stratetgic uses of space, as its civilian space arms have cooperatated closely over they years.

The slides of Ms. Pryor's powerpoint presentation can be found here.

Ms. Crystal Pryor is a 2012 Japan Studies Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington and Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington.Sshe has both Japanese and American policy experience from past work at a think tank affiliated with a major Japanese political party in 2006-2008; employment at the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 2008-2010; and in consulting on U.S. health insurance reform for the Japan division of a major pharmaceutical company in 2011. She holds MA’s in Political Science from both the University of Tokyo and the University of Washington, and a BA in International Relations from Brown University.

Dr. James Clay Moltz is professor of Space and National Security, Nuclear Strategy and National Security, International Relations, and Northeast Asian Security in the Department of National Secuirty Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Asia’s Space Race: National Motivations, Regional Rivalries, and International Risks (Columbia University Press, 2012) and The Politics of Space Security: Strategic Restraint and the Pursuit of National Interests (Stanford University Press, 2008 and 2011 editions). Dr. Moltz received his his PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds an MA in Russian and East European Studies and a BA in International Relations (with Distinction) from Stanford University.

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