The Japan Air Self-Defense Force has opened an office in Tokyo to share information on outer space with businesses and research institutions.

The Oct. 2 launch of the Japan Space Collaboration and Innovation Office is part of the country's effort to boost defense capacity in space, where competition among major powers such as the United States, China and Russia has been intensifying.

The office will be staffed by several ASDF members who will be there to exchange views on fast-developing private-sector space technologies and gain knowledge about the biggest advances, the ASDF said.

"We'd like to utilize the private sector's technologies in the defense sector and enhance our capability through public-private cooperation," said Gen. Hiroaki Uchikura, chief of staff of the ASDF, at a press conference in late September.

Col. Kenji Minami (R), head of an Air Self-Defense Force section in charge of space-related operations, and Masayasu Ishida, president and CEO of Spacetide Foundation, pose for a photo at the ASDF's newly opened office in Tokyo on Oct. 3, 2023. (Photo courtesy of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force)(Kyodo)

"We will reflect the acquired knowledge in the introduction of new defense equipment," he added.

The office is located in a skyscraper in the capital's Toranomon district, where many space startups and research institutions have opened offices.

The location will be used "for the time being," with the rent for six months running at about 13 million yen ($87,100), according to Uchikura.

In its three key defense documents updated last December, Tokyo vowed to enhance its capabilities and boost cooperation with its security ally Washington in space, as well as in the cyber and electromagnetic domains.

The government said the ASDF will be rebranded as the Air and Space Self-Defense Force as it aims to reinforce its abilities to operate in space and develop systems to ensure superiority in the use of space, according to its policy papers.