Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Technical Counselor Yasushi Horikawa Appointed Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)

June 6, 2012

  1. On Wednesday, June 6, Dr. Yasushi Horikawa, Technical Counselor of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was appointed Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) at the 55th Session of the Committee held in Vienna. He is the first Japanese person to be given this position.

  2. COPUOS was established as a standing committee of the United Nations in 1959. The Committee supports research on outer space, exchanges information, and examines methods and legal issues related to peaceful uses of outer space. It is assigned with the task of reporting its activities to the United Nations General Assembly.

  3. As the space-related activities of countries-and in recent years, private companies as well-grow in diversity and intensity, it is anticipated that COPUOS will continue to play an increasing role with regard to international cooperation related to science and technology, and legal aspects concerning space activities. Chairman Horikawa can be expected to thoroughly carry out his responsibilities.

  4. Dr. Horikawa's appointment as Chairman can be seen as part of Japan's personnel-related contributions to the activities of the United Nations in the field of space. Going forward, Japan intends to proactively make further contributions to the activities of COPUOS in concert with other member states.

[Reference 1] In addition to the main committee, which is the decision-making body of COPUOS, the organization consists of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, and the Legal Subcommittee; each of these committees holds a session in Vienna once a year. COPUOS currently has 71 member states. Recently, the organization has been working on creating the international norm, including guidelines for the long-term sustainability of space activities.

[Reference 2] Yasushi Horikawa Bio:
Joined the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) in 1973. Worked on development, planning, and international coordination related to the geostationary meteorological satellites and Earth observation satellites of Japan for approximately 15 years. Managed the development of the Japan Experiment Module (JEM) "KIBO" in the International Space Station (ISS) Program starting in 1987. His positions since 2009 have included JEM Development Project Manager, Space Station Planning Program Manager, and Executive Director of JAXA. Born in Tokyo in 1944. Doctor of Engineering.

    • (*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)