The Japanese Defense Ministry plans to deploy Ground Self-Defense Force missile units with 500 to 600 personnel on Ishigakijima island in Okinawa Prefecture by the end of fiscal 2022, sources said.
It will bring the total number of locations with missile units in the Nansei island chain to four, including the main island of Okinawa. The move is apparently made with an eye toward China, which is strengthening its maritime presence.
According to the sources, one of the new units will operate surface-to-ship and ground-to-air missiles and another will handle the initial response phase in the event of a major disaster or armed attack.
The government will include expenses related to the deployment in the budgetary request for fiscal 2022.
New GSDF camps will be built on the former site of a golf course away from urban areas on Ishigakijima island. Housing facilities for GSDF personnel, an ammunition depot and a training ground will also be built.
The Nansei island chain spans about 1,200 kilometers, which is comparable to the length of the Japanese archipelago. It is located in the so-called first island chain that stretches to the Philippines.