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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:54 03/09/2007
News Review #345: May 2, 2006

Japan Spy Satellites Will Target Korea

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

Japan Spy Satellites Will Target Korea
Donga, South Korea

Related Article:
2 new spy satellites to be launched in July, October
The Yomiuri Shimbun


The article introduced above is very short, with only 140 words. It roughly traces what Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported over the weekend (the 'Related Article' above). But there is a twist. The heading is a creation of the reporter. And to "support" the heading, the first sentence was newly inserted by the reporter that reads, "The Japanese government announced that it will launch additional data-collecting satellites aimed at watching the Korean peninsula in July."

It is true that Japan's information-gathering satellites project was activated partly because in 1998, Taepodong ballistic missile was fired by North Korea, without any warning, over Japan. As Japan's constitution prohibits preventive military actions, it was recognized that the only practical way to preserve the security of the land was to establish an early warning system, including the utilization of satellites.

Accordingly, it is true one of the objectives of the satellite system is to keep an eye on North Korea which has not necessarily been friendly to Japan in various aspects. But expanding the expression to the whole "Korea" or the Korean peninsula to give the impression of including South Korea, as in the article, raises suspicion as to what sort of message did the reporter really intended to convey to the readers.

It has been reported when the two new satellites join the two already in orbit, as a system it will become possible to photograph any location on earth at least once every 24 hours. It could be utilized, therefore, although with limits so as not to jeopardize Japan's security, to gather information to support peacekeeping efforts and disaster management in various parts of the world, especially of regions Japanese teams are sent to help the local people. It would certainly make Japan's efforts in such areas more effective.

Japan and South Korea have a lot in common to enable global cooperation in assisting people in other areas of the world, once differences of opinions on certain specific matters are resolved. If that seem to be a long shot now, the issues could be shelved, acknowledging the differences, for the time being, in search for things mutually productive.

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