The Philippines and Japan have strengthened their cooperation once again and this time around in the field of space science and space exploration.

Through a conference held virtually on June 11, Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Director General Joel Joseph Marciano Jr. inked a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) President Yamakawa Hiroshi, which will see both countries cooperate in their shared pursuit of space.

According to the deal, Japan and the Philippines will collaborate in the following areas: space applications, satellite development, space environment utilization, capacity building for space-related technology development, space policy, and legislation, and promotion of the space industry.

“As we sign this agreement, we look back to what our country has been able to achieve in space over a relatively short period of time, and how Japan has contributed substantially to those efforts,” Marciano said during the signing ceremony.

Marciano shared that the MOC will bring more opportunities to Filipinos, specifically the benefits that lie in space.

“Today, with JAXA, we look to further that cooperation as we continue to build forward, inspire, and open more opportunities for Filipinos to access and benefit from space,” he said.

For their part, JAXA shared their excitement in being chosen as a partner for PhilSA.

“I’m very pleased to say JAXA is the first foreign space agency to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation with PhilSA,” Yamakawa said.

“As PhilSA begins its full-scale activities, we will be happy to work with you if our experience can be of any help,” he added.

Even before the deal was signed, Japan has been helping the Philippines with its activities in space, specifically with the launch and creation of Diwata-1, the first Philippine microsatellite launched into orbit in 2016.

They also offered their help in launching Diwata-2, which was propelled into space in 2018 through the Tanegashima Space Center. Meanwhile, the Filipino engineers who built the Maya-2 satellite were mentored by instructors at Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech) through the 4th Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite Project.

This is the second MOC signed by PhilSA, the first being with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), which aims to develop space technology capacity.

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Image credit: PhilSA