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Flashback to the EU-Japan GNSS Roundtable

30 / 11 / 2021 Editorial Team
This blog post is brought to you by the Editorial Team from Brussels and Munich!
Flashback to the EU-Japan GNSS Roundtable

Impressions from the Roundtable

Organised by the European Commission and the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, the 5th edition of the EU-Japan GNSS Roundtable extended the public-private dialogue within the industry in a virtual setting on 25 and 26 November.

The EU and Japan are key actors and partners in the domain of space with rapidly evolving ecosystems. Moreover, the EU-Japan Strategic and Economic Partnership Agreements foresee close industrial cooperation. One prime example of joint EU-Japan cooperation highlighted during this year’s Roundtable is the Emergency Warning Service (EWS) via GNSS to meet the global trend to develop disaster risk reduction technologies. In the last couple of years, the EU and Japan have jointly defined a common „EWS message format” expected to become the global standard for emergency warning broadcasting through GNSS satellites and have started real test cases using QZSS and Galileo. This year in September, the EU and Japan have released a joint statement at the 15th Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Working Group-B[1].

To bring the benefits of successful EU-Japan space cooperation to the industry, the aim of this year’s Roundtable was to promote business cooperation and bring together established as well as new industry actors. Topics of interest included the latest system developments and market trends as well as GNSS for automotive unmanned mobility, emergency response and innovative services for ICT, Industry 4.0 and IoT amongst others. Overall 10 companies had the opportunity to present their solutions leveraging GNSS to the audience.

More than 200 industry representatives and other participants registered to the Roundtable and many joined the digital get-together and networking including more than 90 different companies from the GNSS and related industries based in the EU and Japan. The key question at hand was how the EU and Japan can continue their fruitful cooperation to make the most of the evolving GNSS assets boosting industrial cooperation and technological innovation, and to deliver jointly on the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate objectives.

The European Commission and the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, are inviting all participants and anyone interested to join the next Japan-EU GNSS Roundtable hopefully in 2022. The Roundtable was kindly supported by the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and (Horizon2020 EU funded project).

Background information

Michibiki and Japan’s striving GNSS ecosystem

Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS or Michibiki), operational as a four-satellite constellation from November 2018, contributes to strengthening industrial competitiveness and to modernizing and effectuating operations of industries, lifestyle and administration of public organizations. In addition, QZSS is targeted at improving disaster management as Japan is particularly prone to a variety of natural disasters.

QZS-1R, which is a replacement satellite for QZS-1, was launched successfully on 26th Oct 2021. Three more satellites will be launched by March 2024, which leads to realize the seven-satellite constellation system.

QZS-3 is located in Geostationary orbit at 127 East and embarks Japanese SBAS payload. QZS-3 provides  SBAS  message from 2020 under the name of Michibiki Satellite-based Argumentation Service  (MSAS). Currently Japanese SBAS capability is APV and enroute/approach use. In the future, it is aiming  for LPV service under the seven-satellite constellation system.

Since QZSS started offering services in 2018, the PNT market in Japan is expanding its business areas including autonomous mobility, agriculture, land survey, sports, location-based service and so on, along with the increase in utilization and application of QZSS services. In addition, smaller and less expensive receivers for QZSS high accuracy service are under development, and it is expected to further enlarge the market.

QZSS will enhance its high-precision reinforcement services for overseas especially in the Asia-Oceania region. So far, correction information for Precise Point Positioning (PPP) has been distributed as demonstration experiments. From 2024, QZSS will start practical operation of wide area high accuracy augmentation service over the Asia-Oceania region generated by Multi-GNSS Advanced Orbit and Clock Augmentation (MADOCA).

In addition, the Japanese EWS, which is called Satellite Report for Disaster and Crisis Management, is planned to expand its service coverage towards Asia-Oceania region from 2024. The government of Japan and the EU are currently discussing the possible common EWS message format to enhance the harmonization of services.

QZSS is recognized as one of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS), which was accepted at IMO 104 in 8th Oct. 2021. For vessel operation, QZSS can improve maritime navigation aide under its service coverage . QZSS has become the only GNSS system in the world that could be utilized in offshore area.

Galileo, its potential and the EU’s evolving Space Programme

Galileo and EGNOS are the two European satellite navigation programmes. Galileo provides navigation, positioning and timing information globally. EGNOS improves the performance of satellite navigation systems in Europe. Galileo is a key element of a broader established EU Space infrastructure with the second generation of Galileo satellites underway in upcoming years. To quote Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner in charge of space matters, „Galileo will operate real technological breakthroughs with high innovative satellites and technologies such as digitally configurable antennas, inter- satellites links, new atomic clocks technologies or full electric propulsion systems. The Second Generation of Galileo will have significantly improved services capabilities, notably in the field of secured navigation and resilience against emerging threats”[2].

Galileo is a European success story. More than 2.3 billion Galileo-enabled mobile phones have been sold globally up to date. Moreover, of the 1.7 billion GNSS shipped units in 2019, more than 40% were Galileo-enabled[3].  While European independence is a principal objective of the programme, Galileo is designed to be compatible with all existing and planned GNSS and interoperable with GPS. In this sense, Galileo is positioned to enhance the coverage currently available – providing a more seamless and accurate experience for multi-constellation users around the world. Galileo’s services already make transport safer and more efficient and  boost innovation contributing to the creation of many new products and services. Critical, emergency response-services benefit from Galileo as well.

These opportunities for the development of services using navigation satellite signals are considered instrumental to the green and digital transition and eagerly seized by start-ups and SMEs, which create a wide variety of applications for the growing global app community. Some of them will present their solutions at the EU-Japan GNSS Roundtable.

Organisers and Supporters of the EU-Japan GNSS Roundtable

Organised by the European Commission

The Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS) leads the European Commission’s activities in the Defence Industry and Space sector. In the area of Space, DG DEFIS is in charge of implementing the EU Space programme comprising the GNSS flagships Galileo and EGNOS, as well as Copernicus, for Earth observation, and the establishment of new components. DG DEFIS international cooperation in space matters is an essential part of ensuring the proper functioning of the Union Space Programme, enabling the global uptake of EU space services and data, opening or expanding international markets for the EU aerospace industrial ecosystem, and projecting EU values on the global stage.



[1] Agenda and Presentations of the meeting can be found here



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