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The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has operated the GMS and MTSAT series of satellites at around 140 degrees east to cover the East Asia and Western Pacific regions since 1977, and makes related contributions to the WMO's World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme. As a follow-on to the MTSAT series, the Agency plans to operate next-generation satellites called Himawari-8 and Himawari-9 (himawari means "sunflower" in Japanese).
The functions and specifications are notably improved from those of the on-board imager of MTSAT, and enable better nowcasting, improved numerical weather prediction accuracy and enhanced environmental monitoring.
In order to provide continuous observation, JMA plans to launch Himawari-8 in 2014 and begin its operation in 2015. To ensure the robustness of the satellite observation system, the launch of Himawari-9 is also scheduled for 2016. JMA will continue to operate Himawari-8 and -9 at around 140 degrees east covering the East Asia and Western Pacific regions, as with the GMS and MTSAT series.
|Schedule for Himawari satellites. In Japan, Fiscal Year (FY) runs from 1 April to 31 March.|