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日本版GPS 宇宙開発の先導役目指したい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 17, 2011)
Japanese GPS the next step in space development
日本版GPS 宇宙開発の先導役目指したい(9月16日付・読売社説)

The government's Strategy Headquarters for Space Development has finalized a plan to construct a Japanese version of the Global Positioning System.
 日本版の全地球測位システム(GPS)を構築する方針を、政府の宇宙開発戦略本部の専門調査会がまとめた。

The envisaged system is expected to stimulate various industries in Japan. The United States, operator of the existing GPS network, welcomes the idea of linking up with a Japanese counterpart from a security point of view. We expect the government to decide the details of the plan quickly, realizing it as the vanguard of Japan's space development.
 これを活用した産業活性化が期待されている。米国も安全保障の観点から日米連携を歓迎している。日本の宇宙開発の先導役となるよう、詰めを急ぎ、実現を目指してもらいたい。

The GPS, which is used in devices such as car navigation systems, analyzes radio waves received from U.S. satellites, using them to calculate the receiver's precise location on Earth. The GPS, originally developed by the U.S. military, covers the whole world.
 カーナビに使われているGPSは、米国の人工衛星からの電波を解析し、地上の位置を割り出している。もとは米軍が開発したもので、全世界をカバーしている。

The envisaged Japanese system would cover mainly the Japanese archipelago and surrounding areas. Four to seven quasi-zenith satellites would be launched for the system, which would fly above Japan and Australia in figure-eight loops.
 日本版GPSは、日本から豪州までの上空を、8の字形に周回する「準天頂衛星」を4~7基打ち上げて使う。主に日本列島と周辺地域に対象を絞ったものだ。

This system has a few advantages. For instance, since at least one satellite would be above Japan at all times, there should be no blind spots. Also the accuracy of positioning would be improved, with the margin of error reduced to one meter or less.
 常に1基以上が日本の上空に位置することになり、電波の死角がないといった利点がある。位置を割り出す精度が上がり、1メートル単位の測位も可能になるという。

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GPS for various uses

In the case of the U.S. system, the benefits of space development have been utilized in many aspects of daily life, such as mobile phones. We hope more such benefits will be realized as a result of the establishment of the Japanese system.
 米GPSは携帯電話をはじめ幅広く活用され、宇宙開発の成果が暮らしに生かされている。日本版の構築で、さらに広げたい。

For instance, the network would be useful in automobile collision-avoidance systems, navigation systems to assist aged or handicapped people and precise management of mechanized fertilization on large farms.
 たとえば、高齢者や障害者の歩行用“カーナビ”や、自動車の衝突警報、大規模農地での精密な施肥管理などに役立ちそうだ。

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, another possible use of the satellite system for disaster management has been attracting attention. Even if a disaster severs ground communication networks, the satellite system could obtain a broad array of information to assess damage. With the system, it will also become possible to proceed efficiently with the remote-controlled work of cleaning up radioactive contamination at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 東日本大震災後は、防災への応用も注目されている。地上通信網が途絶しても、広域の被災状況を把握できよう。福島第一原子力発電所事故の放射能汚染でも、遠隔操作による除去作業を効率的に進めることが可能になる。

China and European countries are also working actively on construction of their own GPS networks.
 欧州や中国も、独自のGPS構築に積極的だ。

The Beidou navigation system, the Chinese version of the GPS, is expected to go into service soon. Japan cannot sit passively by and watch China's moves as it increases its influence in economic and military fields. If the Japanese GPS is promoted in other Asian countries, Japan can enhance its partnerships with them. The system would thus become significant in terms of security.
中国版「北斗」は運用開始が近い。経済、軍事で影響力を拡大しようとする中国の動きは座視できない。日本版GPSをアジア地域で普及させれば、各国との連携が進み、安全保障上も重要な意義を持つだろう。

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Problems for space project

However, there are more than a few problems.
 ただ、課題も少なくない。

First, it would cost a huge amount of money. Launching four to seven satellites would cost 170 billion yen to 290 billion yen in total. The government must find a way to give this plan a higher priority than other space projects that are currently deemed equally important.
 巨額の予算を要する。4~7基の衛星打ち上げに1700億~2900億円かかる。他の重要な宇宙プロジェクトとの間で優先順位を上げる工夫が必要だ。

Japan's space industry must overcome several hurdles before it is able to manufacture and launch satellites on its own.
 衛星の製造、打ち上げを日本の宇宙産業が担うためには、乗り越えるべき関門がある。

In 1990, Tokyo and Washington agreed to procure commercial satellites by public tender to alleviate trade friction between the two countries.
 日米は1990年、貿易摩擦を緩和するため、実用衛星については公開入札することで合意している。

However, if a U.S. company succeeds in accepting orders for quasi-zenith satellites to be used in this project, the Japanese space industry will get into a business jam. The government must ask the United States to consider this project as an exception to the 1990 agreement.
だが、準天頂衛星を米企業に受注されては、日本の宇宙産業は窮地に陥ってしまう。米国には例外扱いを求めねばならない。

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has expressed his ambitions for space development. He should exercise his leadership to solve this difficult problem.
 野田首相は、宇宙開発への意欲を示している。難題の解決にリーダーシップを発揮すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 16, 2011)
(2011年9月16日01時14分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-09-18 04:19 | 英字新聞

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