Because they’re going there, reports Nature. Not in person (not right away, anyway), but with the launch of a new satellite system:
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is calling it the biggest lunar mission since NASA’s Apollo programme. The JPY 32 billion (US$279 million) satellite, called the Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE), will survey the Moon’s mineralogy, topology and gravity gradients.
By October 9, SELENE will release a small signal-boosting satellite, and by the 12th, a larger lunar orbiter will be sending back surveys of the lunar surface and the moon’s gravity field. NASA has an orbiter going up next year.