Tokyo: Japan launched a new spy satellite
into orbit today amid concerns over North Korea`s missile
programme and to monitor natural disasters in the region.
The Japanese H-2A rocket carrying an information-
gathering radar satellite lifted off at 10:21 am (0121 GMT)
from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan,
The government decided to build an intelligence-gathering
system following North Korea`s missile launch in 1998 into the
Pacific over the Japanese archipelago.
In defiance of international pressure, North Korea
launched what was believed to be a three-stage Taepodong-2
missile in April 2009, with an estimated range of 6,700
For security reasons, the government has refused to
divulge details about the functions of satellites.
Demand for domestic land surveillance grew after Japan
was hit by the March 11 quake and tsunami.