Following the revision of a law regarding its non-military activities in space, Japan has announced a 'space force' that will launch in 2019.
The term brings to mind dystopian visions of fighters patrolling near space, but will actually revolve around protecting satellites from space debris orbiting the Earth.
The force will initially just use telescopes and radars to monitor the debris, Kyodo news agency reports, providing the US military with all the information it obtains in the hope of strengthening bilateral cooperation in space, the so-called "fourth battlefield".
The unit will use personnel from the Air Self-Defence Force and be run jointly with the science ministry and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Thousands of pieces of debris, including disused satellites and rockets' launch gear, currently orbit the earth, with a craft full of sexually active geckos nearly joining them last week.
Russia briefly lost contact with its Foton-M4 experimental satellite, which was being used to study the effects of zero gravity on sex.