The International Observation Visit to JAXA Tanegashima Space Center as Confidence-Building Measures of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC)
On November 16-17 as confidence-building measures of the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC), Japan invited international observers from HCOC member countries to Tanegashima Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Representatives of Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Russia and the United States of America took part in the observation.
At Tanegashima Space Center the representatives observed the standing H2A rocket which will be launched in the near future, as well as major facilities such as the Range Control Center (the facility of the command and control of rocket launch operations), and Masuda Tracking and Communication Station, which receives satellite transmissions, monitors location, altitude, and the correct functioning of the instrumentation, and sends transmissions to control satellites from the ground.
Through the observation the participants were able to confirm that the launching at the Tanegashima Space Center is nothing but for civilian purpose, and the observation proved to be a good opportunity for deepening the understanding of Japan's space policy for peaceful purposes.
Japan has strongly supported the nonproliferation of ballistic missiles and has played a proactive role since the HCOC had been launched. This observation visit contributes to further strengthening the confidence of the HCOC member countries.
This is the second international observation visit hosted by HCOC member countries. It is much hoped that other HCOC member countries will organize voluntary international observation visits to launching sites as a means of confidence-building measures.
The confidence-building measures of HCOC are as follows:
i) With respect to Ballistic Missile programmes to:
- make an annual declaration providing an outline of their Ballistic Missile policies. Examples of openness in such declarations might be relevant information on Ballistic Missile systems and land (test-) launch sites;
- provide annual information on the number and generic class of Ballistic Missiles launched during the preceding year, as declared in conformity with the pre-launch notification mechanism referred to hereunder, in tiret iii);
ii) With respect to expendable Space Launch Vehicle programmes, and consistent with commercial and economic confidentiality principles, to:
- make an annual declaration providing an outline of their Space Launch Vehicle policies and land (test-) launch sites;
- provide annual information on the number and generic class of Space Launch Vehicles launched during the preceding year, as declared in conformity with the pre-launch notification mechanism referred to hereunder, in tiret iii);
- consider, on a voluntary basis (including on the degree of access permitted), inviting international observers to their land (test-) launch sites;
iii) With respect to their Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Vehicle programmes to:
- exchange pre-launch notifications on their Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Vehicle launches and test flights. These notifications should include such information as the generic class of the Ballistic Missile or Space Launch Vehicle, the planned launch notification window, the launch area and the planned direction;
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