Our history and purpose

Looking back

The Japan International Aerospace Exhibition is the largest of its kind in Asia. It has been held every few years since 1966, drawing more overseas interest and participation each time. The Asahi Shimbun and Japan Aeronautic Association with cooperation from America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) co-hosted the inaugural through fourth exhibitions. The Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies has handled hosting duties since the fifth exhibition.
Unlike similar exhibitions overseas, where military technology generally occupies half the display areas, JASA chiefly presents technologies for civilian and other peaceful use. The space exhibits featured are also of a larger scale than those in Europe.

History of the Exhibition

The first through seventh exhibitions were held at Japan Air Self Defense Force bases. Later exhibitions shifted indoors to accommodate growing requests for technical exhibitions, chiefly related to the aerospace industry and technical development. The land and flight demonstrations which had been held on base premises developed into annual events held at Air Self Defense Force bases nationwide.

No. Dates Location Participating
Number of attendees
1 November 3-6, 1966 Japan Air Self Defense Force Iruma Air Base 2 42 380,000
2 October 9-13, 1968 Japan Air Self Defense Force Iruma Air Base 6 96 500,000
3 October 29-
November 3, 1971
Japan Air Self Defense Force Komaki Air Base 8 177 500,000
4 October 5-11, 1973 Japan Air Self Defense Force Iruma Air Base 8 119 610,000
5 October 16-24, 1976 Japan Air Self Defense Force Iruma Air Base 8 123 480,000
6 November 17-25, 1979 Japan Air Self Defense Force Iruma Air Base 9 122 270,000
7 October 29-
November 6, 1983
Japan Air Self Defense Force Gifu Air Base 7 110 430,000
8 February 14-18, 1991 Nippon Convention Center (Makuhari Messe) 10 259 80,000
9 February 15-19, 1995 Nippon Convention Center (Makuhari Messe) 21 282 84,000
10 March 22-26, 2000 Tokyo Big Sight 24 countries and regions 297 110,000
11 October 6-10, 2004 Pacifico Yokohama 24 countries and regions 343 110,000
12 October 1-5, 2008 Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall, Annex Hall and peripheral facilities (including heliport) 22 countries and regions 528 42,000
13 October 9-14, 2012 Port Messe Nagoya/Central Japan International Airport 40 (estimated) 700 (estimated) 65,000 (estimated)

(Caption for photo above)

The inaugural exhibition coincided with the International Space Development Expo (also known as the Gemini 10 Expo) held at the Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. The expo bustled with activity for 26 consecutive days (except when closed for three days), and enormous lines wound down the stairways all the way from the seventh floor exhibition hall to the ground floor. This was also when the wildly popular and long-running sci-fi television series “Ultraman” began its broadcast run. Events everywhere signaled the dawn of Japan’s space age.

(Caption for photo above)
Iruma Air Base during the fourth exhibition in 1973. There were a total of 61,000 attendees.

JA2012 will feature outdoor fixed-wing flight demonstrations for the first time in 30 years of expo history, as well as large replicas of spacecraft. It’s being talked about by a wide multinational demographic including media agencies, industries and aerospace fans, and inquiries are already pouring in.

Return to top