Bad weather delays Japan satellite launch

Japan postponed the launch of its third intelligence-gathering satellite due to bad weather, the nation's space agency JAXA, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

The report said the launch of the satellite, originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon on the domestically developed H2-A rocket, would now take place this week from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

Japan already has two other intelligence-gathering satellites in orbit under a program prompted by North Korea's test launch of a long-range missile that flew over Japan's main island in 1998. JAXA plans to launch a fourth next winter, according to the report.

Under the program, overseen by the Cabinet, Japan hoped to be able to survey any point in the world, and keep watch on North Korea, the report said.

The upcoming launch would come after North Korea carried out a series of missile tests in July that triggered international condemnation and concerns about regional security.

But government officials had said that the recent activity in North Korea had not influenced the timing of the launch, the report said.