Satellite technology exhibition highlights importance of space

One of the world's largest exhibitions of satellite technology and equipment is underway in Washington. It comes at a time when space is taking on an increasingly important role for both business and national security.

The show features more than 350 exhibitors from 112 countries and regions, including Japan and the United States.

Among the technology on show is a model of a satellite from a Tokyo-based start-up that's equipped with robotic arms.

It's designed to dock with inoperable satellites in earth-orbit and use the arms to make adjustments and repairs.

Another Japanese exhibitor is showcasing a relay device to send maritime data by satellite to the ground via high-speed networks.

Yonekura Eiichi of the Sky Perfect JSAT Group said: "Space will be important in terms of national defense. We would like to demonstrate our strengths, know-how and abilities by highlighting that we have already started doing business in the field."

Japan and the US are working to promote cooperation in space. They reaffirmed in January that Article Five of their security treaty, which obliges the US to defend Japan if the latter comes under attack, can apply to space under certain conditions.