The Government wants to bolster its outer space programme and is cosying up to the multi-billion dollar Japanese space sector in a bid to strengthen the two country's "bilateral space engagement".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe agreed to expand their outer space cooperation and strategy in September.

An August ministerial briefing – obtained under the Official Information Act (OIA) – reveals officials were working behind the scenes before Ardern's trip to strengthen New Zealand and Japan's "space partnership".

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