Japan, on Tuesday, successfully put a defense communications satellite in orbit, the government said, amid growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
The H-2A rocket carrying the Kirameki-2 satellite blasted off from Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan at 4:44 pm (0744 GMT), (Kirameki means twinkle in Japanese).
The satellite, launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, is the first of three set to replace older satellites.
According to the ministry, the new satellites will enhance communications capabilities among units of the Japanese military, serving as a communication infrastructure to counter the North Korean missile threats.
The launch came amid reports that North Korea has made progress in developing its nuclear and missile programmes.
Report says in 2016 alone, Pyongyang carried out two nuclear tests and launched over 20 ballistic missiles. (dpa/NAN)