Prime minister declares goal of a Japanese astronaut becoming the first non-American to walk on the lunar surface.

As the year winds down many of us are mulling over resolutions for ourselves in 2021, such as losing a few pounds, learning a new skill, or finding more time to spend with loved ones. On Tuesday, though, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida laid out a much larger, and more long-term, goal for the nation.

Meeting with Science and Technology Policy Minister Kobayashi Takayuki and members of the Japanese government’s Strategic Headquarters for Space Development, Kishida announced revisions to Japan’s Basic Plan on Space Policy, as it calls its objectives for space-related scientific development. Revisions to the Basic Plan are regularly made, but in the latest round, for the first time, one of the goals is to have a Japanese astronaut walk on the surface of the moon.

“The frontier of space gives hope and dreams to humanity,” waxed Kishida before transitioning to more practical reasons for going to the moon with “and it is also an important foundation for securing the stability of economic society.”

With Japan’s JAXA space agency not in the practice of launching manned spacecraft, the path to Kishida’s ambition of having a Japanese astronaut become the first non-American to walk on the moon appears to be the country’s participation in the Artemis Project, a NASA-led initiative seeking to carry out the first manned lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972.

Among the other topics discussed at the Strategic Headquarters for Space Development meeting were the importance of coordination between the Japanese government and private sector in developing supply vehicles and a new lunar rover for the Artemis Project, as well as efforts to advance techniques and technology for generating solar energy in space.

The Strategic Headquarters for Space Development hopes to have a Japanese astronaut on the surface of the moon by the late 2020s, and if they can make that happen it’ll easily be the biggest space achievement for the country since the Tenga rocket that was launched last summer.

Sources: NHK News Web, TBS News via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
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