Message from Chairman, UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space ,Dr. Yasushi HorikawaExpectations for Institute for Space Law
Dr. Yasushi Horikawa
Technical Counselor, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Chairman, UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (2012-2013)
In May 2012, Space-X's Dragon spacecraft was launched to resupply the International Space Station. Dragon is the unmanned cargo craft developed by the US venture company, Space-X, to provide commercial flight services to the ISS. The flight to the ISS has been traditionally made by government-developed spacecrafts, such as Space Shuttle. Space-X and Dragon seem to open up a new era in space development.
With the increasing use of outer space, not just the private sector, but also various countries have come to participate in space activities. In 1990, only twenty one countries carried on activities in the use of outer space. In 2000, the number of countries has increased to thirty seven and, in 2012, fifty one. It is not hard to imagine that outer space as the province of humankind is growing in importance year after year.
As Outer Space Treaty provides that outer space is "free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind" and is used "for the benefit and in the interests of all countries," outer space is a special area that combines international communality and freedom of activities. Uses of a variety of forms in space are constrained to the orbit around the Earth, so that the valuable orbit has become a finite resource. International society is in need of international rules for effective and sustainable use of outer space.
Contribution from the viewpoint of legal system as well as that of technolgy is indispensable for Japan to take a leadership role in space development. Creating new legal norms is an urgent global agenda. It is, therefore, essential to foster researchers and practicians of space activities who can discuss ideal form of space law and propose recommendations to the world. As its foundation, the role of the Institute for Space Law is prominent.
I offer my best wishes for the success and growth of the Institute as the world center for space law study.