Tokyo, Mar 9: Japan plans to put a robot on the moon by 2020 and an astronaut by 2030. According to a report from a govt office, Japan fears that the country will be left behind in Asia's space race.
The Soviet Union, United States and China are the only countries that have put people in space with their own rockets.
The plans follow China's first space walk and India's launch of their first unmanned moon mission in 2008.
Beijing officials have said that China is looking to eventually put astronauts on the moon, though the government has not revealed any schedule.
The robot and the astronaut would probe the moon to see how its resources could be used, the report showed.
A space development panel also discussed on Friday the possibility of Japan eventually starting its own manned space program, a government official said.