US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met on Monday in Tokyo and put forward their plans of working together to help a Japanese astronaut, accompanied by a US cosmonaut, to set foot on the lunar surface. The long-term allies aim to strengthen their partnership to combat China, which asserts to become a space power soon.
The two countries released a joint statement stating to work together on human and robotic missions on the Moon including a cumulative desire to see a Japanese astronaut on the surface of the moon in the near future and sign a contract for the same this year. It also said that both countries are committed to expanding the Artemis collaboration- a US-backed initiative to return astronauts to the moon and in due course send humans to Mars.
Biden said at a press conference that he was excited about the US-Japan space collaboration taking wings, eyeing the Moon and Mars. Both countries are looking to establish close ties on space exploration after a warning issued by NASA officials regarding the flaring tension between the capitals of both countries. More than 12 Japanese nationals have travelled to space so far and the country’s space budget rose to 450 billion Yen in 2021.