Japan has launched its fourth spy satellite, a news report said Saturday, completing its capabilities to monitor activities worldwide and bolstering its ability to observe neighboring North Korea's nuclear program.
The satellite, along with a smaller test prototype, was launched from the country's space center on a remote southern Japan island atop an H-2A rocket, Kyodo News agency reported.
The H-2A is the workhorse of Japan's space program.
The launch of the radar satellite enhances a multi-billion dollar (euro), decade-old plan for Japan to have round-the-clock surveillance of the secretive North and other areas Japan wants to peer in on.
But weaknesses in the satellites' capabilities have led to criticism that the program is a waste of money and, with better data available on the commercial market, that Japan will continue to be dependent on Washington for its core intelligence.