On Wednesday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine continued his visit to Japan with a meeting hosted by 20 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Diet members at the LDP Headquarters in Tokyo. The purpose of the visit was to brief key Japanese Diet members about the agency’s current activities and plans for future human space exploration. Following his remarks, the administrator answered questions from Diet members.
Following Bridenstine’s visit to LDP Headquarters, he participated in a press conference at the headquarters of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tokyo with JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa.
Bridenstine noted the exceptional international cooperation that currently exists on the International Space Station, highlighting Japan’s significant contributions to the program and congratulating JAXA on the recent successful launch of the of the HTV resupply vehicle.
Bridenstine reiterated NASA’s strong interest in enhancing cooperation with JAXA and highlighted its potential to play a critical role in the Artemis program, NASA’S innovative and sustainable exploration program, beginning with a mission to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.
The administrator then delivered a keynote at a luncheon of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan entitled Commercial Partnerships in Space Exploration. His remarks focused on the importance of NASA’s efforts in enabling a commercial marketplace in space.
After the luncheon, Bridenstine held a meeting with Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary to the Prime Minister of Japan, and Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan. The meeting focused on the 60-year history of space cooperation between the United States and Japan and the many areas in which Japan can make significant contributions to the Artemis program. The meeting was held at the official residence of the Japanese prime minister.
Later in the afternoon, Bridenstine met with Minister of Justice Katsuyuki Kawai, who is a long-time advocate within the government of Japan of U.S.-Japan cooperation in space exploration. They discussed U.S.-Japan human space flight cooperation, including the future of the space station and the important role Japan can play in the Artemis program.
The final meeting Wednesday was with Hiroaki Okuchi, Toyota President of Advanced R&D and Engineering Company. Okuchi briefed Bridenstine on a joint JAXA-Toyota pressurized lunar rover concept. Recognizing the importance that a lunar rover could have in supporting the Artemis program, JAXA is using toyota’s experience in automotive design to assess the technical feasibility of developing a pressurized lunar rover.