Japan has revised its space schedule today, which shows it wanting boots on the moon by the end of the decade.
The ambition, part of the US-led Artemis programme, will see the first ever non-American on the moon.
“Not only is space a frontier that gives people hopes and dreams, but it also provides a crucial foundation to our economic society with respect to our economic security,” prime minister Fumio Kishida said.
The country also looks to launch a Mars exploration probe in 2024, squaring up to both the US and China in studying the red planet.
China became the second country in the world to put a rover on Mars in May.
Both Japan and China are also seeking to generate solar electricity from space – as the need for sustainable energy grows ever more apparent on the ground.
The fresh schedule comes just weeks after Japanese billionaire Yusaka Maezawa returned to Earth after spending nearly a fortnight aboard the International Space Station.
Maezawa joined a string of billionaires, such as Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, to eye the final frontier as the subject of their next entrepreneurial venture.