Tokyo, Oct. 8 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to deploy security and missile units of the Ground Self-Defense Force on the island of Miyakojima in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa as part of efforts to strengthen the defense of Nansei southwestern remote islands, informed sources have said.
A total of some 700 GSDF personnel will be stationed on the island, the sources said. The move is apparently intended to keep a check on China, which is accelerating military buildup and maritime expansion.
The ministry will also deploy GSDF units on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa and the island of Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture, north of Okinawa.
The deployment plans are based on the government’s medium-term defense program aimed mainly at better protecting the Nansei islands, also including Okinawa’s Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China.
For Miyakojima, the ministry sought 26 billion yen under the government’s budget for fiscal 2018, which starts next April, to cover costs for the construction of facilities to be used by the GSDF personnel and the acquisition of a site for a shooting range, the sources said.