NASA’s lunar exploration program Artemis will be joined by a new member i.e., Japan; although, Japan’s contribution in Artemis is still pending.On October 18, 2019, the Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe’s office twitted that it has been decided by the PM’s SHNSP (Strategic Headquarters for National Space Policy) that Japan would join NASA in its venture to get humans back to the moon and this could also lead Japanese astronauts’ landing on the lunar surface.
Abe stated in English that Japan would turn over a fresh page to space and lunar exploration. He added that they planned a policy to partake in the U.S’s endeavor as a strong U.S. ally connected via strong bonds.
The Japanese govt. drew many reasons in a Japanese language doc. for partaking in the NASA’s venture which included security, diplomacy, commercial prospects, global competitiveness and provision for future Mars missions.
Abe’s office reported that the motive of the program is to maintain a moon orbiting space station, exploration of the lunar surface by astronauts with Mars and other termini in their sights.
According to the Japanese statement the country would collaborate with NASA and others to organize its participation in different ways. Japan’s involvement includes giving techs for supporting previous lunar Gateway, distributing info regarding selection of lunar sites, offering logistic facilities with next-gen HTV-X cargo vehicle and further lunar transportation facilities.
However, it wasn’t clearly stated that whether Japan’s interest for lunar Gateway contribution is still intact. In MCB’s (Multilateral Coordination Board) earlier statements, which supervises matters related to the ISS (International Space Station), JAXA, the space agency of Japan, suggested habitation functions for 2nd phase of the Gateway, post initial reappearance to the lunar ground in 2024.
With Japan’s entry it became the 2nd main spacefaring country to declare its cooperation with Artemis. Canada had declared this Feb that the Gateway’s robotic arm would be designed by it for which it would be spending nearly $1.5 B for next twenty four years.