The Tokyo office of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) was opened in February 2013. The office serves as the central point of contact between DLR and its partners in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. Its primary focus is on establishing, maintaining and developing research and technology collaborations in DLR’s research fields and within the scope of DLR’s role as the space agency of the Federal Republic of Germany and as a national project management agency. The Tokyo office represents DLR in the region, analyses research policy frameworks in partner countries and supports collaborations and visits by delegations.
The DLR Tokyo office is headed by Niklas Reinke. In 2002, Reinke completed his doctorate on the History of German and European Space Policy at the University of Bonn. He worked for the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin before joining DLR in 2004. At DLR, Reinke has worked in communications and public relations as well as in strategy development. In 2013 he was tasked with setting up the Tokyo office.
The tasks and services of DLR's Tokyo office
- Representing DLR in dealings with political, scientific and industrial institutions and organisations in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region
- Establishing, developing and maintaining relations with partner organisations, authorities, research and development institutions, industry, international institutions and relevant German representations
- Supervising ongoing cooperation efforts and participating in the initiation of new cooperative enterprises as well as analysing and resolving problems on site
- Analysing and reporting of key Japanese and regional political activity, as well as research and technology developments, including in legislation, budgeting, strategy and industrial policy
- Informing partners about DLR’s activities and opportunities for cooperation
- Establishing and facilitating key contacts and networking with contacts at DLR
- Supporting and accompanying employees of DLR and German ministries on stays in Japan and other partner states in the region, as well as staff exchanges with Japanese institutions
- Supporting German research and industry through cooperation projects relevant to DLR
DLR's cooperation partners in Japan
After the USA, Japan is DLR's most important partner state outside Europe. The Asia-Pacific region in general is becoming increasingly important for DLR.
DLR has more than 50 cooperation projects and over 270 cooperation contacts with Japan in the fields of space, aeronautics, energy, transport, digitalisation and security. Its strategic partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is key to such activities. In October 2018, the Franco-German asteroid lander, MASCOT, made an important contribution to research into the surface composition of the asteroid Ryugu as part of the Japanese Hayabusa2 asteroid mission. This close collaboration is set to continue with the Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission and the DESTINY+ asteroid mission. DLR also participates in research exchange with Tohoku University in the field of disaster management, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) on battery research, Tokyo University of Science on reusable launch vehicles and the Railway Technical Research Institute on rail transport.