The electrodynamic tether (EDT) is one of the most promising propulsion systems for de-orbiting debris in low earth orbit (LEO). End-of-mission de-orbit required by debris mitigation guidelines and orbital transfer for active debris removal require much propellant if a conventional propulsion system is used. An EDT, on the other hand, can provide deceleration without the need for propellant or high electrical power. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is carrying out trial manufacture and testing of the key components of an EDT in parallel with a conceptual study on future debris removal systems. This paper introduces the current status of JAXA's EDT development, including plans for an EDT flight demonstration using a small satellite.