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SECURITY > Self-Defense Forces

SDF missile unit likely to be deployed in Okinawa

  • February 27, 2018
  • , Asahi
  • JMH Summary

Asahi led with the disclosure by several GOJ sources that the Defense Ministry is mulling the deployment of an SDF surface-to-ship missile unit on the main island of Okinawa with the goal of deterring China’s aggressive naval operations in the Nansei Island chain and that the idea will probably be included in the National Defense Program Guidelines to be updated in December. Although there are plans for the installation of similar units on Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, the ministry has reportedly concluded that a separate missile regiment needs to be set up on the main island given that the surface-to-ship missiles to be deployed on Miyako do not have the range to cover the strait between Miyako and the main island, which are about 290 kilometers apart. The ministry is reportedly alarmed by PLA Navy ships’ frequent passage through the strait toward the Pacific Ocean, quoting an unnamed senior MOD official as saying that PLA operations in this vicinity are posing a major threat to the U.S. military in the Western Pacific.

 

The daily explained in a separate article that the GOJ is extremely keen to strengthen the defense of the Nansei Islands by using isles in Okinawa as major platforms to rein in what it believes are Beijing’s moves to take control of the Western Pacific as well as the South China Sea. The article underscored the need for the GOJ to obtain Okinawa’s understanding and support for its plan to enhance deterrence against China in coordination with the U.S. military, especially given that the tension is rising between Okinawa and Tokyo over Futenma relocation and the recent series of mishaps involving U.S. military aircraft. 

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