The government plans to rely solely on Japanese technology in developing four intelligence satellites to be launched by 2002, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said Thursday.

The top government spokesman told a regular news conference that the government also has set up a committee to further promote the introduction of intelligence satellites to ensure Japan’s national security.

Following the launch last August of a North Korean rocket, part of which flew over Japanese territory, Japan has begun studying the possibility of developing four satellites for reconnaissance and to collect data on weather, the environment and natural resources. “We decided to develop the satellites using Japanese technology because those satellites will be launched for the main purpose of gathering necessary data for Japan’s national security,” he said. “Considering Japan’s ability to develop satellites and their management, developing them based on Japanese technology would serve the best interests of the nation.”

Nonaka said that technology currently held by the National Space Development Agency of Japan will be sufficient, and if any trouble occurs with the satellites, the government will be able to cope with the problems swiftly.

Although the U.S. has cutting-edge technology to develop optical sensors with a resolution power greater than 0.15 sq. meter, Nonaka said optical sensors that can resolve images as small as 1 sq. meter, which can be developed by Japanese technology, will be sufficient to gather necessary data.

However, Nonaka added that Japan is ready to purchase parts necessary for satellite development and technology for data analysis from the U.S. and other countries.

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