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The Procurement System of the Japanese Space Agency: Present Challenges, Future Promise Open Access

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This thesis discusses the procurement system of the Japanese space agency (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA), arguing that procurement reform could benefit JAXA by increasing flexibility and transparency in the procurement process and by strengthening the ability to manage costs. By benchmarking JAXA against other space agencies, this paper concludes that JAXA's procurement system is more rigid than those of the United States and Europe. JAXA circumvents many inconveniences of the traditional Japanese procurement system by utilizing the U.S.-modeled Request for Proposals (RFP) method. However, a more flexible source selection process would probably benefit JAXA by increasing the value of any given procurement. Transparency will be key in moving toward a more flexible procurement system. Furthermore, more specific cost and profit rules could strengthen JAXA's cost management capability.This paper also examines whether Japan's compliance with the international public procurement regime is or will be sufficient to change JAXA's procurement system. This paper finds that the international public procurement regime, taken alone, cannot be a definitive solution to modernize JAXA's procurement system. JAXA needs to launch its own initiatives in order to move toward a more flexible and credible procurement system. Modernizing the procurement system would not only benefit JAXA, affording more flexible source selection and better cost management, but would also increase public confidence in the space program. Such changes would also serve as stepping-stones on the way to a more international approach for Japan's public procurement.

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