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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Fishing season delays Japan satellites
Japan's H-2A rocket lifts off
The H-2A rocket was due to launch the satellites in September
The launch of two spy satellites in Japan has been put on hold for the third time - because it coincides with the fishing season.

A spokesman for the country's space agency, JAXA, said the launch would now not take place until November at the earliest.

JAXA has an agreement with locals from the remote island of Tanegashima, in southern Japan, to plan its launches around their fishing schedules.

Agency spokesman Hiroaki Sato said the area had to be cleared before launches took place, and that meant fishermen were not be able to work during that time.

According to the agreement, space missions can only set off in January and February or between mid-July to the end of September.

"We understand that fishermen also have to make a living," Mr Sato told the Associated Press news agency.

October is one of the best times of the year to catch lobsters, crabs and flying fish in the area.

Japan has already had to postpone its plans to launch the two satellites twice before.

Officials had originally hoped to send them on the country's H2-A rocket on 10 September, but had to postpone the launch due to technical problems.

The launch date was moved back to later in September, and then postponed again.

Tokyo launched its first spy satellites last March, which can be used to monitor the region, including unpredictable North Korea.

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