An anti-satellite test conducted by the Government of Russia
(Statement by Press Secretary YOSHIDA Tomoyuki)
November 18, 2021
- A test of direct ascent anti-satellite missile against its satellite conducted by the Government of Russia on November 15 (Moscow time) generated a large amount of space debris. On the same day, a number of debris approached the International Space Station (ISS), to which the Government of Japan is one of the Parties, and the crew members were forced to escape temporarily into the spacecraft being moored at ISS for safety.
- The destruction of a satellite that generates a large amount of space debris indiscriminately increases the risk of collisions of on-orbit space objects and is an irresponsible behavior that undermines sustainable and stable use of outer space. As the importance of outer space is increasing, the Government of Japan is concerned about the destruction also from the perspective of peaceful use of outer space and security. In addition, Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines adopted unanimously by the member states of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), including Russia, in 2007 require that the intentional destruction of any on-orbit space objects that generates long-lived space debris should be avoided. In this respect, the test runs counter to the guidelines.
- The Government of Japan expresses concerns towards the test and calls upon the Government of Russia not to conduct this kind of test in the future.
- As it is important to ensure the peaceful use of outer space, the international rule-making is necessary for sustainable and stable use of outer space. The Government of Japan will continue to call upon relevant countries for their responsible behavior in preventing the generation and diffusion of long-lived space debris and to engage actively in the discussions in the international arena on responsible behavior in outer space.