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Technology

Rocket launch sites planned in Japan, led by private sector

Canon, IHI units' joint venture scoping out venues for sending up satellites

In Japan, rockets have generally been launched from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center, pictured above, or from its Uchinoura Space Center. Both facilities are in Kagoshima Prefecture in the south. (Photo courtesy of JAXA)

TOKYO -- Japan's first private-sector effort to build rocket-launching facilities is underway as new aerospace legislation paves the way for meeting growth in demand for small observation satellites.

Canon Electronics, a Canon unit, has joined IHI subsidiary IHI Aerospace, construction company Shimizu and the state-owned Development Bank of Japan to establish joint venture New Generation Small Rocket Development Planning. The new company had begun scouting potential sites nationwide by Tuesday, aiming to shorten the list in time to embark on operations in fiscal 2018 at the earliest, following government checks.

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