Japan launched a radar reconnaissance satellite on Sunday morning believed to be its most sophisticated ever, various Japanese media outlets reported.
The launch was performed from the Tanegashima Space Center in the Kagoshima Prefecture in the south of Japan at 10:21 local time (01:30 GMT). The satellite was taken into orbit by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-2A (H-IIA) carrier rocket.
This is the fifth spy satellite that Japan has launched to monitor military movements in South Korea and China. It will allow the capture of high resolution images during night and through clouds. The other four Japanese satellites that are orbiting the Earth include two optical imaging spacecraft and two radar imagers.
Japan plans to launch another reconnaissance satellite in March, as part of the Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) series. The IGS program was initiated after North Korea attempted to launch a satellite in August 1998.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a statement that the government will build a reliable system for gathering information in order to boost the nation’s national security and enhance its crisis management capabilities.