Japan launches satellite to monitor N. Korea

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Tokyo: Japan successfully launched a satellite on Friday, to track land and maritime movements in North Korea and conduct surveys on the weapons program of the rogue state, a media report said.

The H-2A rocket was launched at 10.20 a.m. local time from the Tanegashima base in the southeast of Japan, Efe news reported.

The mission is a cooperation between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and aerospace manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which has been involved in the field since it was privatised in 2007.

The launch, initially scheduled for March 15, was delayed due to poor weather conditions at the base.

These types of satellites are designed to capture images from several hundred kilometres above the earth and are used to monitor the areas where North Korea conducts its ballistic missile tests.

The North Korean regime led by Kim Jong-un carried out a series of missile tests and two nuclear explosions in 2016.

The hermit-state leader also tested four more ballistic missiles, one of which fell only 200 km off the Japanese coast, earlier in March.

Japan currently has six satellites in orbit which take pictures during the day, while its radars are responsible for surveillance at night or for observing in bad weather conditions.

The US intelligence and the Defence Department anticipates that North Korea may soon undertake a new round of testing of its missile and nuclear program, the CNN reported.

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