Japan launched two intelligence satellites, an operational radar satellite and an experimental optical probe, into orbit.
Both of the satellites were launched atop the Japanese-produced H-IIA rocket and were planned long before North Korea’s latest missile test and international provocations.
Japan’s intelligence satellite program began in 1998 after North Korea successfully launched a missile over its territory. Although Japan still relies on the United States for much of its intelligence gathering, such initial steps by Tokyo toward developing its own capabilities will only augment the planned missile shield network that the US and Japan will employ in the region.
North Korea is under a state of martial law ahead of a planned nuclear test on the peninsula. The DPRK’s powerful National Defense Commission has issued warnings to foreign powers and threatened warfare repeatedly if its right to pursue nuclear weapons is deterred.