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Interstellar Technologies unveiled a real-size mockup of a suborbital rocket on Jan. 22 that it plans to launch in the spring.   © Kyodo
Startups in Asia

A disruptor-in-chief is driving Japan's space dream

Takafumi Horie: maverick businessman, ex-inmate, author, and now a rocket entrepreneur

MITSURU OBE, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Takafumi Horie, the maverick internet entrepreneur, is hoping to transform Japan's space industry.

Interstellar Technologies, which Horie founded in 2013 but has its origins in 2006 in one of his previous enterprises, plans to launch a rocket this spring, aiming to be the first Japanese company to privately reach space. The 45-year-old disruptor-in-chief envisages a future in which Japan is a space-industry powerhouse, competing with the U.S. in a race that will be driven by private companies rather than governments.

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