This article describes the current state of international cooperation in the development of the Moon and other celestial bodies, especially in terms of their value as sources of natural resources which should be regarded as 'common assets of humankind'. The national plans of the USA and Japan are discussed, and the potential for tension between the developed and newly industrializing nations is highlighted. The author argues that there is wide scope for Japan to demonstrate its commitment to the interests of the international community by facilitating technology transfer, establishing a space development fund and setting up an international corporation to back space projects. © 1992.
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