Japan Current Affairs - 2019
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Japan has successfully launched its first commercial satellite on 24 November 2015 as part its national space programme.
Japanese H-IIA rocket carrying Canadian TELSTAR 12V communications and broadcasting satellite for operator Telesat was successfully lifted off from Tanegashima Space Centre (TSC).
With this, Japan is entered into the commercial satellite launch business which is mainly dominated by European and Russian companies.
- The first commercial satellite launch was overseen by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
- Japan is aiming to become a major player in the commercial satellite launching business which is worth 2.5 billion dollars a year.
- In this regard, it has tried to improve its H-IIA rocket in order to cut the cost of each launch to make its programme competitive.
Some Facts: India had launched its first commercial satellite successfully in 2007 using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying Italian satellite AGILE for space exploration.
With this, India had joined the elite club of nations comprising US, Russia, China, Ukraine and European Space Agency (ESA) having capacity to deploy their space exploration resources for commercial use. Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL) is the marketing arm of ISRO. It oversees commercialization of space exploration resources for commercial use developed by ISRO.
Japan has offered soft loan of 15 billion dollars (Rs 90,000 crore) at an interest rate of less than 1 per cent to India’s ambitious first bullet train project viz. Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor along with technology.
In this regard, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has submitted its report to the Union Railway Ministry. In its report JICA has envisaged a reduction in the travel time on the 505-km long corridor between the two western cities to 2 hours from the existing period of over 7 hours.
The report also has mentioned that the bullet train is expected to run at speeds of around 300-350 km/hour.
Japan’s announcement comes in a bid to surpass competition from China and other countries. It also seeks to overcome Japan’s broader push back against China’s involvement in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years.
Thus with this soft loan offer, it can be said that Japan is offering both technology and funding together as there are many countries offering the high-speed technology for the bullet train project but not the funding.