Japan Planning Military Deployment to its Southernmost Islands

The Defense Ministry of Japan is planning to deploy units of its Ground Self-Defense Force to the islands of Miyako and Ishigaki southwest of Okinawa, in what Japanese government sources claimed to be a response to increased maritime activity from Chinese naval vessels in the Pacific Ocean close to the islands.

Around 600 military personnel, equipped with surface-to-ship missiles, are to be deployed on the islands, which are controlled by Japan as part of its Okinawa Prefecture.

According to media reports, Defense Minister Akira Sato is set to visit the two islands in mid-May to carry out surveys and seek local support for the plans, while the ministry is to ask for the necessary funds, including the costs of acquiring the necessary land in its budget request for the next fiscal year, beginning in April 2016.

In addition, NHK reports, by the end of next March, the Defense Ministry also plans to deploy a radar-equipped coastal observation unit on the island of Yonaguni, part of Ryukyu’s Yaeyama archipelago and Japan’s westernmost inhabited island.

In 2018, defense officials intend to deploy an amphibious rapid deployment brigade in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, and a 550-strong initial response unit on Amami Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture.

Full article: Japan Planning Military Deployment to its Southernmost Islands (Sputnik News)

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