Friday, September 11, 2009

Japan "Rendez-Vous" with the Moon

No need to be captured by UFOs or journey to Venus! There is
no Dr. Strangelove at JAXA. Japan simply has a space
policy. Call it scientific and commercial. Today's H-2B
launch was good news for the industry and beyond. And it has
nothing to do with a future Japan plan for building an ICBM.

"The Japanese rocket blasted off at 02:01 AM "propelling an
unmanned cargo vehicle containing supplies for the crew of
the International Space Station (ISS). The vehicle called
HTV separated from the H-2B rocket 15 minutes after launching
from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture,
Kyushu, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

It is loaded with 4.5 tons of supplies, including food,
clothes, personal hygiene products and an equipment for
Japan's Kibo laboratory module on the ISS.

The 33-foot HTV will be the first of seven that Japan will
send to the ISS every year. It will support supply delivery
to the ISS that will be done by Russian and European
space-crafts after the decommissioning of the U.S. space
shuttle in 2011."

Naturally the international scientific cooperation is
delighted and it should be regarded as an achievement.
According to Japanese peaceful minded people it would be wise
not to go beyond. Beyond? Yes, here you are, there are the
nervous type who say: A rocket? Easy to fix a nuke payload?
Is Japan on its way to gain its own nuclear capabilities?

Oh boy! Not again! I heard such comments so often and from
so serious diplomats, salesmen, or journalists, hi-tech,
finance. "Foutaises"! Not with this one, mate!

Japan rather thinks in term of securing future technologies
and markets. If the week ahead shows the HTV is locked to
ISS, then its a miracle the project worked successfully in
spite of such chaotic period.

This H-2B is the difficulty type you know. The rocket is not
made to react fast (in case of nuke attack on Japan it wont
work at all) as we know it takes lot of time to get fueled.
Jaxa: "The H-IIB launch vehicle is a two-stage rocket using
liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellant and has four
strap-on solid rocket boosters (SRB-A) powered by

"... the engine fuel--liquid hydrogen and oxygen cannot be
kept in the tank for many hours. Before launching, about
hours are needed to go through the procedure of gas
replacement, preliminary cooling, and early fueling to fill
up... before launching."


Still, what about nuclear weapons people asked me? Some
say it does not mean that Japan won't have one day the
capabilities to gain nuke weapons and this is interesting in
current debate on the Japan US secret nuclear pact.

NHK, the Japanese national broadcaster, had this debate just
before August 30th election, and surveyed viewers and public.
Surprisingly, a majority of people, mid-aged and young, said
they considered as inevitable that Japan would arm itself
with the nuclear defense capabilities.

Looks like not everyone in the archipelago listened to
President Obama's initiative for a nuclear nonproliferation
and nuclear disarmament in his speech April 5 in the Czech
Republic, in which he pledged to "eventually" eliminate
nuclear weapons.

In Japan there are people who disagree: military and
politicians. Take the former Air Self-Defense Force Chief of
Staff Toshio Tamogami who called upon Japan to arm itself
with nuclear weapons to avoid a third nuclear attack. He was
sacked. Mixed up ideas. But such concerns grows, fueled by
"alarmed" speakers and self-promoted experts. Such as
Nisohachi Hyodo's four-year plan toward Japan's nuclear
armament with "12 warheads 30 missiles, including those for
experiment and for reserve, and 12 SLBM" on alert on a
24-hour basis as described with this (long) report published
by FAS a few years ago and advocated to begin with a Japanese
nuclear deterrent system with M-3SII rockets (around Yen 5
billion each)

Politically, take the man being seen as one of the potential
next LDP leader, Shigeru Ishiba. He has on the record
advocated that Japan should get the capabilities to defend
its territory. " Mr. Koizumi's defense minister, Shigeru
Ishiba, told a parliamentary committee that if North Korea
started fueling its missiles, "then it is time to strike."

Some have studied carefully the program:

"Japan's Potential Nuclearization: Exploring Tokyo's Nuclear

Terumasa Nakanishi, a professor at Kyoto University, argues
explicitly that “U.S. nuclear weapons will be deployed in
Japan as arms exclusively for the defense of Japan, and Tokyo
and Washington will share the buttons to fire them...

Maybe in the end, this report, of the New York Times
published in 2003 sets the clock right in time.

"Advocates of continued pacifism complain that the government
has carefully exploited the tensions with North Korea to
heighten fear among voters. The Japanese public, some of
them warn, is being dragged unawares into a revival of

"I cannot conceive of a war in which North Korea, a far
smaller, far poorer country, attacks Japan first," said
Ryuichi Ozawa, a professor of constitutional studies at
Shizuoka University. "The point here is that there is no
confidence that the people of Japan and their government can
control a military," he said. "This is a contemporary
concern, and not just an issue of our past history." But
public opinion is turning against such sentiments.

"Whenever there is any talk about the security
needs of Japan, people say we are reverting to
militarism," said Tetsu Takahashi, 20, a university
student. "I don't necessarily support nuclear
weapons, even if we can't rule them out.
Whatever the case, our policies have been too

✍ See what I mean. The symbol of power is to own a
nuclear armament and to get the bomb on the top of
a giant rocket.

Hmm... and what about a suitcase-bomb?

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