The U.S. is deploying Global Hawk high-altitude drones at an airbase in Japan to conduct 24-hour surveillance on North Korea. The Global Hawk is capable of 30 hours of continuous flight at an altitude of around 20 km.
The U.S. on Saturday started moving the Global Hawks from Guam to an airbase in Misawa. They will conduct surveillance operations over North Korea from June to October.
A U.S. military spokesman said operations from Guam, which is 3,800 km from Pyongyang, are limited due to frequent storms. They will be remote-controlled from the U.S.
The drones will monitor North Korean missile bases and nuclear test sites and provide the intelligence to South Korea.
Another purpose of deploying the drones in Japan is to bolster reconnaissance operations over the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands, which are disputed by China.
The Yomiuri Shimbun said Washington and Tokyo will bolster monitoring of Chinese naval activities in the East China Sea. Japan hopes to buy Global Hawks in 2015 and operate them jointly with the U.S.