This essay compares the national space legislation of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK), outlining the reasons behind the legislation and then explaining what it authorizes, the jurisdiction it asserts, and the conditions it imposes on nongovernmental space activities. The essay also compares the compensation available to victims in case of damages and governmental indemnification payments to protect victims and the space launch industry in Japan and the ROK. Differences in industry policies and dates of enactment help to account for variations among these states. However, the comparative analysis suggests that the domestic legal conditions across Asia’s three spacefaring nations are similar to those found worldwide. The essay focuses on China, Japan, and the ROK because they are Asia’s most advanced space powers, equipped with their own launch sites, launch vehicles, and domestic satellites. India draws a lot of policy attention, but I exclude it from the analysis because India does not yet have national acts or ministerial licensing measures.1 I also exclude the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). While technologically capable, the DPRK has been prohibited from engaging in “any launch using ballistic missile technology” since 2009, when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1874 in the wake of the DPRK’s second nuclear test. Considering the various sanctions that are in place, the DPRK probably also cannot lawfully procure the launch of its satellites from a foreign launch provider.2.
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