Due to China’s increased assertive moves in disputed waters and territories, Japan will reportedly set up several military outposts on its remote islands, particularly near the Senkaku Islands. The move is aimed at establishing a quick answer to possible attacks and clashes as it aims to strengthen its defense within the region.
The nearest military outpost in the area is in Okinawa, one of the main islands of Japan. As it’s the only one with Ground Self Defense Forces, many in Japan fear that proximity is to their disadvantage should China decide to attack. The lack of an air force facility is also cause for concern, as some say that delays may be experienced when back up support is needed. While most of the previous incidents were merely small intimidation by coast guards from both sides and word wars from government officials, many anticipate a spill over of the disputes in the next few months if things do not change. To allay these concerns, the government is mulling over putting up outposts in three of the remote islands, including Amamioshima, which is 150 kilometers away from the Senkakus. The other two for consideration are Miyako Island, which is 210 kilometers southwest from the Senkakus and Ishigaki Island, found 170 kilometers south. Deputy defense minister Ryoda Takeda will be arriving in Amamioshima this week to check the island and speak with officials about a possible collaboration on research. Early last month, the Self Defense Forces also established a new radar surveillance unit on the remote Yonaguni island.
Many see the bolstering of defense by Japan as having an “aspect of strengthening the Japan-US security alliance.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that a defense program has been prepared months before but that “they have not decided on specific, concrete locations such as those reported.” China has allotted a huge amount in building up its military in the past to prepare for possible skirmishes in the Pacific as it claims sovereignty in a number of islands in Asia.
[via Channel News Asia]