FOCUS: Japan Needs Understanding of Locals over Nansei Defense
Yonaguni, Okinawa Pref., Sept. 24 (Jiji Press)--With Japan planning to beef up defense on the Nansei southwestern islands, the key issue is gaining the understanding of locals amid concerns that they may be caught up in a conflict in the event of a contingency.
In response to China's maritime expansion backed by military force, the Defense Ministry plans to announce again its plan to prioritize deployment of Self-Defense Force troops on the Nansei islands, including Okinawa Prefecture, in its updates to the country's three key defense documents such as the National Security Strategy by year-end.
The move, however, is intensifying concerns among the local communities on the remote islands, particularly those in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa where SDF troops are already stationed.
"The efforts by each and every one of you directly contribute to our country's national security," Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told SDF members during his visit to a Ground SDF camp on the Okinawa island of Yonaguni on Wednesday.
Members of both the GSDF and the Air SDF stationed at the Yonaguni camp are in charge of coastal monitoring at Japan's westernmost island, located just 110 kilometers from Taiwan.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]