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Outrage at Korea “Stealing Japanese Rocket”


A South Korean English language report on the launch of a “domestically produced” Korean satellite on a Japanese rocket which used footage of the rocket from which “Nippon” and the Japanese flag had been conspicuously removed have outraged many Japanese.

The report, from “Korea Today,” uses CG footage of the Arirang-3 launch (aboard a Japanese rocket) from which the Japanese flag and “Nippon” are absent, whilst prominently displaying the Korean flag on the rocket instead.

The reporting also appears to be at some pains to avoid mention of the fact Japan conducted the launch, and is conspicuously vague as to what “home-grown technology” is actually used in the satellite (the previous two Arirang satellites were primarily made by France).

The English language report at issue (the comments field of which is presently swarming with outraged nationalists):

Footage of the actual launch:

JAXA stresses that the rocket used is of Japanese design and manufacture, but “has no particular comment” on the Korean portrayal of the launch.

The rocket used was an H2A, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for JAXA and first launched in 2001, launched from Tanegashima in Okinawa. A Japanese satellite, “Shizuku,” was also on board.

South Korea’s earlier satellites were launched by the US and Russia, and whilst it has attempted to develop its own launch capability using adapted Russian rockets (the US regards their program as provocative and refused to help), they have so far all failed.

The satellite itself was a “multi-purpose” earth observation satellite, developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute with the “technical support” of Astrium, part of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), and Europe’s main rocket and satellite manufacturer.

Given the reputation of Korea in these matters and their treatment of the Japanese rocket, there is some suspicion that the satellite was merely bought from Astrium and rebadged as Korean.

The rocket’s launch was widely reported in Japan, although these reports focussed on it being Japan’s first commercial entry into the international launch market, although with the proviso that its services cost 20%-30% more than competing offerings (although according to Korean reports, Japan was selected for being able to beat Russia on cost).

Amongst Japanese online there is the predictable outpouring of anti-Korean outrage, with particular umbrage at Korea portraying a Japanese rocket as being Korean to an international audience:


“What a shameless country!”

“Honestly, this is even more shameless than what the North gets up to in this area.”

“You can really tell they are both alike from incidents like this.”

“They always do this.”

“I just knew they’d do this.”

“Same tactic Samsung uses with Apple’s gear.”

“Space tech is hard to rip off, isn’t it?”

“I’m puzzled about why they left the Mistubishi logo on there though – what’s the point of removing the flag if you leave that on?”

“They can’t read the kanji for the company name under it, so it doesn’t matter!”

“I think it’s a bit strange to even have the Korean flag up first on the body…”

“JAXA is right to ignore this, you’ll just provoke hwabyung if you call them out on it.”

“A French satellite using German optics launched with a Japanese rocket – what part of this is Korean!”

“There are reports saying they asked JAXA for footage of the launch which minimised the visibility of the Japanese flag.”

“Erasing the logo and faking it with some CG, come on.”

“Faking history and now current events, eh Korea?”

“With reporting on these events being simultaneous and worldwide, it seems pointless to put out such obvious forgeries.”

“They are saying they made the entire satellite domestically as well – but in fact EADS (France) developed it, and Carl Zeiss (Germany) made the optics… They don’t say which part is Korea made.”

“The part where they lie about it being made in Korea.”

“Give them a break – a fake Korean beauty presenting fake CG about a satellite they didn’t really make is classic Korea.”

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