A screen shows a rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea’s satellite control centre in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province, in this photo released by Kyodo on Dec 12, 2012. North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents. Japan is to launch a new spy satellite on Sunday to strengthen its monitoring capabilities amid concern that North Korea may carry out more missile and nuclear tests.
Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency announced that it plans to launch a new spy satellite from its Tanegashima Space Center on January 27 . . . the new satellite will be equipped with radar equipment and will be used for intelligence gathering efforts . . . the decision to launch the spy satellite comes in the wake of North Korea’s successful missile test a month ago . . . Japan also likely plans to launch the satellite in response to concerns that North Korea may be planning to conduct more missile tests or even a nuclear test . . . Japan has already launched four satellites . . . only one of the current satellites is equipped with radar, so the new satellite will provide greater coverage and intelligence gathering capabilities, specifically aimed at monitoring North Korea.