Japanese lawmakers seek to deploy spy satellite for military use

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has drafted a bill to enable the country to develop its own high-performance reconnaissance satellites for defense purposes to better detect foreign military moves, a Kyodo News International report said.

The report said the LDP planned to submit the bill either to an extraordinary Diet session convening September 26 or to a regular Diet session convening next January, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Japan launched its third intelligence-gathering satellite on September 11, but current legal constraints kept the government from giving it sharper resolving powers than those widely used in civilian technology fields, the paper said.

Critics said the satellite's resolving power, which could identify an object of one meter, was not enough to detect signs of missile firings by North Korea and other countries, the report said.

Since Japan ratified a 1967 UN treaty on space activities, including the principle that the use of space was limited to peaceful purposes, the Defense Agency and Self-Defense Forces had remained unable to develop their own reconnaissance satellites to detect foreign military moves, the report said.