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Tuesday, 10th April 2012
In General Japan News,

UK signs space research deal with Japan

Japan and the UK could soon be sharing their space research following the announcement of increased collaborations between the two nations.

Senior politicians from the UK including prime minister David Cameron and universities and science minister David Willetts are currently taking part in a trade delegation to Japan.

One of the key topics being discussed is greater space research collaboration and Mr Willetts is set to sign an agreement with Japan's economy minister, Motohisa Furukawa.

Mr Willetts said that the UK space industry is hugely successful and is worth £7.5 billion a year, but further international collaboration is necessary to continue.

"Space is a global market and the UK's success is dependent on international collaboration, so it's vital we forge strong partnerships with countries like Japan that lead the way in technology," he said.

"Today's agreement paves the way for future space research and commercial cooperation between our two countries. This will drive growth by opening up opportunities for both the UK's innovative companies and leading researchers."

The UK and Japan already work together when it comes to other scientific fields, with the recent Hinode solar mission an example of where their collaboration has proved successful.

One of the three solar physicists involved in the project is from the UK, while other areas such as earth observation has also seen the two nations combine forces to improve their work.

Another example of recent teamwork saw the UK help Japan with its rescue efforts following last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited provided data from its Disaster Monitoring Constellation, in partnership with the UK Space Agency, to help Japan deal with the disasters' aftermath.

The mutually beneficial agreement has also seen Japanese car manufacturer Nissan confirm that it will build its next hatchback vehicle at its Sunderland plant in the north of England, creating around 1,000 jobs.

Written by Mark Smith