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In Oita Prefecture on Japan's southern island of Kyushu, the local airport is rebranding as a spaceport for midair rocket launches. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
Business Spotlight

The space(port) race: Asian nations jostle for rocket launch business

Japanese prefecture famed for hot springs will be base for Virgin Orbit of the U.S.

MITSURU OBE and AKITO TANAKA, Nikkei Asia chief business news correspondents | Japan

This is the second in a series of Nikkei Asia articles on the players, possibilities and problems of the new era in space. Read the first story, on the race back to the moon, here.

OITA, Japan -- For more than a hundred years, tourists have come to Oita Prefecture to sample its restorative hot springs and marvel at the scorching "Hells of Beppu," onsen too hot for anyone to bathe in. Now the prefecture wants to get in on a hot new industry as a base for rocket launches and the tourist trips of the future -- to space.

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