JAXA observation satellite to monitor disputed islands

Featured - September 30th, 2012

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) aims to launch a high-resolution imaging satellite to monitor shipping near disputed islands, Asahi Shimbun reports.

The ALOS-2, an advanced land observation satellite, is designed for missions that require radar imagery, map territory and to monitor disaster areas. It has a resolution of 1-3 meters and can identify ships, agency officials said. The radar can monitor up to 2,320-kilometer-wide surface area. It can also capture images day and night, and see through clouds.

JAXA hopes the satellite would help Japan manage disputes in the East China Sea and Sea of Japan by providing imagery to the Japan Coast Guard, in what could be the agency’s first-ever maritime surveillance mission. The ALOS-2 is scheduled to launch in fiscal 2013. JAXA executive director Hideshi Kozawa told Asahi Shimbun, “The Senkaku Islands are at stake. What we plan to do may help”.