Aerospace & Aeronautics

About Aerospace & Aeronautics

Japan’s aerospace industry has a strong international reputation, particularly in the field of research and development (R&D). Recently, however, it has shifted its focus from R&D to the commercialisation of space technology. The Basic Space Law, enacted in 2008, has paved the way for the development of Japan’s space industry. Demand for satellite technology is expected to increase in developing countries, and Japan is hoping to use this opportunity to develop an export market in satellites. Examples of Japanese innovations in this field include the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) which supports the International Space Station (ISS). Japan hopes to play a more proactive role in the ISS programme, in particular in filling spaceflight gaps brought about by the retirement of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Shuttle.



The Japanese aeronautics sector is one of the largest in the world; however a need to increase competitiveness through international collaboration is being increasingly recognised by those in the industry. Although public sector involvement is primarily focused on the USA, European aeronautics companies are highly regarded in Japan. As a result, several successful partnerships between Japanese and European companies have taken place to date and many more opportunities remain for EU companies keen to engage in the Japanese market.


Aerospace Technology

Japan’s aerospace industry is constantly developing and promoting its satellite systems, space development initiatives, transportation programmes and operations. As one of the largest users of helicopters, Japan develops and manufactures fuselages, engines and other aerospace components. The technologies used in fuselage and transmission production in Japan enjoy an outstanding international reputation. Foreign satellite manufacturers used to have the upper hand in the Japanese market. However, the success of the Japan-made “Superbird 7” satellite is a sign of the country’s improved competitiveness and progress. The main public agency responsible for this sector is JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency).



Since the end of the Second World War, Japan’s aerospace and defence (A&D) industry has been significantly limited by restrictions on arms exports, which, in addition to prohibiting the sale of arms abroad, have also had the effect of hindering the integration of Japan’s defence and commercial aerospace sectors and preventing the country from developing a globally competitive defensive aerospace industry.