Japan Current Affairs - 2019
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Japanese researchers from Shizuoka University will conduct world’s first experiment to test small prototype of space elevator in space by using two mini satellites. The test equipment will be launched by Japan’s space agency on board of H-2B rocket from southern island of Tanegashima.
In this experiment, two ultra-small cubic satellites developed by Shizuoka University Faculty of Engineering will be used for demonstration of space elevator technology. Each satellite measures 10 centimeters each side. Roughly 10-meter-long steel cable will be employed to connect twin satellites. The pair of satellites will be released from International Space Station (ISS) and container acting like elevator car will be moved on cable connecting satellites using motor. The movement of motorised elevator box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.
It is proposed type of planet-to-space transportation system. Its components mainly are cable (also called tether) anchored to surface of planet and extending into space. It will permit vehicles to travel along cable from planetary surface, such as Earth’s, directly into space or orbit, without use of large rockets. The idea of space elevator was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after he saw Eiffel Tower in Paris and later it was revisited nearly century later in novel by Arthur C. Clarke.
The one end of cable of space elevator will be attached near to surface and the other end in space beyond geostationary orbit (35,786 km altitude). The competing forces of gravity, which is stronger at lower end and outward or upward centrifugal force, which is stronger at upper end, will result in the cable being held up, under tension, and stationary over single position on Earth. Once cable (tether) is deployed at fixed position, climbers can repeatedly climb it to venture into space by mechanical means, releasing their cargo to orbit. Climbers also can descend ether to return cargo to surface from orbit.
The 5th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) intersessional ministerial meeting was held in Tokyo, Japan. It was first RCEP ministerial gathering to be held outside ASEAN countries. It was co-chaired by Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko.
During the meeting, ministers from member countries had in-depth discussions on issues such as trade, service, investment and rules at the meeting. They recognized importance of early conclusion o RCEP negotiations consistent. They also reaffirmed their resolve to work together and achieve agreement that will allow economies of different levels of development to actively participate in and benefit from open and inclusive regional economic integration.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
RCEP is a proposed proposed free trade agreement (FTA) or comprehensive regional economic integration agreement between the 10-ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan and Korea).
Its negotiations were formally launched at 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. Till 2017, 16 RCEP member states accounted for population of 3.4 billion people with total GDP (in terms of PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 38% of the world’s GDP (combined GDPs of China and India makes up more than half that amount) and 29% of world trade. RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.