Japan has approved a bill to allow the use of space for defence purposes, enabling the development of full-scale spy satellites.

According to local media, the approval by the Cabinet Committee of the House of Councillors is seen as a departure from Japan’s decades-long policy of limiting the development and use of space for non-military purposes.

The bill will require Japan to abide by the space treaty, honour its international commitments and maintain the pacifist spirit of the constitution in developing and using space.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh