This Friday, Japan launched a rocket with an information-gathering satellite to observe movements at military installations in North Korea and improve response to natural disasters.

The H2A rocket, launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., took off from the Tanegashima Space Center, in southwestern Japan, with an optical satellite, as part of Tokyo’s reconnaissance work to strengthen military capacity.

The satellite can capture images even in adverse weather conditions.

Tokyo, which began its satellite intelligence-gathering program after a North Korean missile flew over Japan in 1988, either create a network of 10 satellites to detect and issue early warnings about possible missile launches.


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Fumio Kishida’s government, as part of the national security strategy adopted in 2022, wants to have US-made long-range Tomahawk missiles and other cruise missiles available as early as next year, to increase attack capacity.

This policy, which breaks with the post-war principle of a country exclusively dedicated to self-defense, is due to the rapid advancement of weapons in China and North Korea.

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This Friday’s liftoff was closely monitored, ahead of the planned launch of the new H3 rocket, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency as a successor to the H2A.

O first test flight of the new rocket failed last year.

The liquid-fuel H2A rocket, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy, with two solid-fuel sub-rockets, has achieved 41 consecutive launches since an attempt in 2003 failed.


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