Japan launches first X-band defence communication satellite

Closeup on H-IIA engines

Japan has launched its first military communications satellite on Tuesday in order to improve the broadband capacity of its Self Defence Forces.

The satellite took off from the Tanegashima spaceport on an H-IIA rocket at around 7:44 am GMT.

The ministry says it is the first of three satellites that will replace three civilian ones now used by Japan's military. It was built by DSN Corporation for the Japanese Ministry of Defence.

The ministry planned to launch Kirameki-1 past year but it is undergoing repairs after being damaged when being transported to a launch site in French Guiana. On the other hand, Kirameki-3 is meant to be launched in 2021.

The satellite is one of three planned "X-band satellites".

Usually, analysts and spectators keep an eye on the South China Sea but the East China Sea is little less controversial than the former.

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Japan and China have secured a regional question in the East China Sea over a gathering of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Japan and China are both now in a dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the military is operating further from Japan's home islands as it takes on a bigger role to counter growing Chinese military activity in the region.

From April to December, Chinese aircraft approached Japanese airspace 644 times that were doubled a year, said Japan's Ministry of Defense on Friday. The countries are disputing the exploitation of gas fields that straddle exclusive economic zones claimed by both.

Japan kicked off 2017 with the successful launch of a military communications satelite on an H2A launcher on 24th January.

According to Japan's Ministry of Defence, from April to December, Chinese aircrafts have approached Japanese airspace 644 times, nearly double the number of approaches past year.