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JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) succeeded in communication with ISS. This communication is conducted through Kodama, Data Relay Test Satellite: DRTS. The relation between the facilities is shown in the below. Data goes from Tsukuba to ISS (International Space Station) through Kodama, and vise versa.

This is Kodama, a stationary satellite. It was launched in 2002. It relays data between satellites and the Earth. It has also communicated with Envisat, launched by ESA.

Courtesy of JAXA

If Japan communicates with ISS directly, the time of communication is short because it has few points to communicate.
Japan does not have a large territory unlike the U.S. and Russia.

However, Kodama can see ISS in the dead angle of Tsukuba. So, the time of communication can extend.

JAXA compensates for the lack of resource with its technology, doesn't it?

This is ICS-Exposed Facility subsystem on Kibo of ISS. To communicate with Earth, Kibo uses it.
Courtesy of JAXA

Well, where is ICS-EF?
Let's look for it.

Courtesy of JAXA

It is more difficult than "Where is Wally?", isn't it?

Here is an enlarged drawing.

Courtesy of JAXA

Did you find it?

He is here!

Now, the countries which can communicate with ISS themselves are the U.S., Russia, and Japan.

If you want to get more information, go to
Unfortunately, this page is Japanese. I did not find the English article...

updated at Aug. 29, 2009