Tokyo: Japan's Defence Ministry is highly likely to deploy Long-range missiles in the Nansei chain of islands in future to counter Chinese military activities, The Japan Times reported.
Japan, has recently established a Ground Self-Defense Force camp on Ishigaki Island last month, where all the high-level weapons including type-12 surface-to-ship batteries and other missile units were deployed. Currently, the Defense Ministry is promoting the deployment of Self-Defense Forces missile units in the Nansei chain of islands, where Japan is preparing to acquire so-called counterattack capabilities to strike enemy bases.
On that islands, Japan has already deployed missile units on the islands of Amami Oshima and Miyako. By the end of fiscal 2023, the ministry will complete the deployment of a missile unit at the GSDF's Katsuren subcamp on the main island of Okinawa, according to The Japan Times.
According to the Japan Times, Yonaguni, the westernmost Japanese island located only some 110 kilometres away from Taiwan, is among the candidate sites to host a missile unit.
The ministry is strengthening the defence of the Nansei region because it is the gateway to the Pacific for China. Chinese military ships and aircraft have been spotted frequently in the region.
An aircraft takeoff and landing drill was staged on the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning in waters south of Okinawa after the vessel sailed across the region between late last year and January this year.
This latest move seems to be a warning to China. Last year, Japan announced a plan to acquire counterattack capabilities. Under the plan, Japan will increase the range of the Type 12 missile to over 1,000 kilometres for deployment starting in fiscal 2026, reported The Japan Times.
Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada told a news conference Friday that no decision has been made about where to deploy long-range missiles.
But a ministry official said that the Nansei islands close to China are a "good candidate" to host such missiles. A new depot to be set up on the Okinawa main island is expected to store long-range missiles.