December 28, 2022
TOKYO – The Defense Ministry is considering deploying a surface-to-air guided missile unit on a Ground Self-Defense Force camp on Yonaguni in Okinawa Prefecture, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
Yonaguni, Japan’s westernmost island, is about 110 kilometers from Taiwan. The deployment of a missile unit on the island would strengthen defenses in the region, in anticipation of an emergency in Taiwan.
The ministry will buy about 180,000 square meters of land east of Camp Yonaguni with future troop deployments in mind, according to several government officials. The ministry has included the cost of acquiring the land in the draft budget for fiscal 2023 and plans to build facilities including office buildings, ammunition storages and firing ranges.
“The nation has an obligation to make clear its intention to protect this small island,” said Yonaguni Mayor Kenichi Itokazu. However, regarding the concerns of locals, Itokazu said, “The government should be responsible for explaining the situation [to them].”