12:59 GMT +319 June 2019
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    A soldier from Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force helps to prepare surface-to-ship missile launchers at Camp Naha in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture (File)

    Japan Installing Missile Base 200 Miles From Chinese Coast

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    Japan is planning to sprinkle missile battery assets near Taiwan and the contested Senkaku islands to deal with “what Tokyo views as its greatest long-term threat: China,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

    The Japanese military has started laying the groundwork for anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile installments on Ishigaki, an island in the far southwest of Japan's Ryuku island chain, only 200 miles from mainland China, according to the December 20 report.

    Between 500 and 600 Japanese troops will eventually deploy to the island, according to the WSJ.

    Beijing, Tokyo and Taiwan have staked competing claims over the Senkaku islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyu islands. The tiny, uninhabited islands not far from Ishigaki are close to shipping lanes and are surrounded by rich fishing waters.

    Beijing also, of course, considers Taiwan itself a rogue province and has not ruled out using force to reign it back in.

    Japan has already initiated plans to grow its defense budget as a result of North Korea's burgeoning nuclear and ballistic missile development programs. CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Pyongyang was "months" from fielding a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the US East Coast in October, and in the course of testing, North Korean missiles routinely fall into Japanese waters or even fly over their islands.

    The Japanese Defense Ministry plans to request a record-setting 5.19 trillion yen ($46.1 billion) for its next fiscal year, starting April 1, 2018, Sputnik News reported December 16.

    According to Nikkei, a Japanese business daily, Tokyo is seeking stronger missile interception programs with the purchase of land-based US missile defense system Aegis Ashore and Norway's Joint Strike Missile anti-ship cruise missiles.

    A draft of the budget documents stated Tokyo is looking to purchase six F-35A aircraft and four V-22 Osprey tiltrotor military aircraft, build a new submarine, and start construction on two compact patrol ships.

    China's construction of 290,000 square meters of new military facilities in the South China Sea, including infrastructure for radar systems, sensor arrays, munitions depots and missile shelters is nothing short of a "slow-moving crisis" in that area of the world, according a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies report.

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    Tags:
    anti-ship missiles, militarization, militarism, CSIS, Senkaku Islands, Japan
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