Japan says it will participate in a US-led project to put a space station into orbit around the moon.
The government made the decision on Friday at a meeting of the Strategic Headquarters for National Space Policy, attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and cabinet ministers.
The members accepted Thursday's panel recommendation that Japan should join NASA's Lunar Gateway project as a base for missions to the moon.
They agreed that Japan's participation would help Japan-US cooperation in promoting the peaceful use of space and help boost the country's international profile through technology.
Abe said Japan made the decision as a steadfast ally of the United States and as a country with a technological edge that was fostered in projects like the space laboratory Kibo and the cargo spacecraft Kounotori.
He said Japan will work hard to expand a new frontier for humanity.