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Japan launching spy satellite on Sunday to monitor North Korea

Published on Jan 23, 2013 3:33 PM
 
 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. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - 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.

A rocket carrying a radar-equipped satellite is scheduled to blast off from a space centre at Tanegashima in the southwest, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has announced.

The space agency said the satellite would be used for information-gathering, including data following Japan's 2011 quake and tsunami, but did not mention North Korea by name.

The launch, planned for Sunday between 1:00 and 3:00 pm (12noon - 2pm Singapore time) comes after Pyongyang rejected dialogue on its atomic programme following tightened UN sanctions for a banned rocket launch.

 
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