NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine arrived in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 23, to hold discussions on the agency’s Artemis program with key Japanese government officials and sign a Joint Statement on Cooperation in Lunar Exploration.
Bridenstine was greeted by the Charge d’ Affaires ad interim, Joseph Young, at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. They spoke at length about NASA’s plan to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and the strategic partnership the United States and Japan enjoy in space activities. Young emphasized that the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo will work diligently to help cement Japan’s involvement in Artemis.
Later in the morning, Bridenstine was interviewed by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.
Following the interview, Bridenstine met with Hiroshi Yamakawa, president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to discuss future bilateral cooperation and JAXA’s potential participation in NASA’s Artemis program. They identified several areas in which the United States and Japan can extend scientific and technological cooperation to advance sustainable exploration of the Moon, including on the lunar Gateway and the Moon’s surface.
They also discussed the possibility of NASA collaboration on JAXA’s Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon (SLIM) mission, and JAXA’s plans to launch CubeSats on NASA’s Artemis I mission. Read the Joint Statement on Cooperation in Lunar Exploration online at https://global.jaxa.jp/press/2019/09/20190924a.html.
Following the signing of the joint statement with JAXA, Bridenstine met with Koichi Hagiuda, minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology – the parent ministry of JAXA – to discuss Japan’s participation on the Gateway and Artemis lunar surface activities.
In the afternoon, Bridenstine met with Naokazu Takemoto, Minister of State for Space Policy. Bridenstine briefed Takemoto on the progress NASA has made in developing the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and lunar Gateway. They also had an in-depth conversation on space policy and the importance of expanding cooperation between the United States and Japan in space activities.Following the meeting with Takemoto, Bridenstine conducted two media interviews with NHK and NIKKEI.Later in the afternoon, Bridenstine held a meeting with Yoshiyuki Kasai, chairman of the Space Policy Commission (SPC) of Japan. They discussed the strategic importance of ongoing and future cooperation in space, including NASA’s Artemis program. The SPC is an external advisory body made up of members from the private sector and academia that provides advice on space matters directly to Japan’s prime minister.
The final event of the day was a speaking engagement at the University of Tokyo, where Bridenstine spoke to approximately 300 students and members of the media about the Artemis program and the importance of international partnerships in the U.S.-led effort to return to the Moon by 2024. Following his speech, he took questions from students on topics ranging from how Japan will contribute to the Gateway and lunar surface activities to NASA’s efforts to send humans to Mars.