Japan will join NATO members and other partners for an annual space defense exercise in France starting Monday, preparing for real-world threats like attacks on communications satellites.

Sixteen nations will take part in AsterX 24, hosted by the French Air and Space Force in Toulouse.

South Korea is the only other East Asian country to participate. Other countries taking part are Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Romania, the U.K., the U.S., Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Australia. Representatives of NATO’s cyberdefense center will also take part.

Missile maker MBDA, aerospace manufacturer ArianeGroup and other European companies will participate as well.

The exercise will cover a full range of space warfare in a fictional geopolitical scenario based on current and future threats, according to the French military.

AsterX has been held annually since 2021. Participation had been limited to the U.S. and European nations.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces had observer status starting in 2022. This year, two SDF members will take part in the exercise.

In last year’s exercise, Mercure, a hypothetical Eastern adversary with powerful space capabilities, threatened its fictional neighbor Arnland. The scenario envisioned heightened tensions between Mercure and multinational forces supporting Arnland.

Such war games reflect real Western fears of the threat of Russian cyberattacks.

“Russia is targeting us with hybrid actions, through disinformation, cyberattacks and political interference, with the aim to sow division in our democratic societies,” the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland said in a statement last month following a meeting of the three nations’ Weimar Triangle group.

“It remains the most significant and direct threat to our security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.”

Japan also sees a pressing need to bolster space and cyberdefenses. China is building a satellite-based communications network as it seeks to become a space power. Beijing has been accused of being behind cyberattacks targeting Japan and the U.S.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces established a Space Operations Group in March 2022 to monitor satellites and space debris. In June last year, the government laid out its first Space Security Initiative, which “sets forth space security objectives and approaches” for the next decade.

Participating in AsterX is part of Japan’s efforts to increase space partnership with other countries. Japan and France agreed in December on a new five-year plan for cooperation that includes joint exercises on space between the Self-Defense Forces and the French Armed Forces.