02:36 GMT +316 October 2018
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    This photo taken on September 8, 2017 shows Surface-to-Ship Missile (SSM-1), a truck-mounted anti-ship missile, at Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) 1st Artillery Brigade at Camp Kita-Eniwa in Eniwa, Hokkaido prefecture

    Japan Intends to Deploy Anti-Ship Missiles to Counter China - Reports

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    According to local media reports, the new unit could be deployed to Miyako Island in order to ensure its security, as its territory is located some 180 miles from the prefecture's main island of Okinawa.

    The Japanese government is considering the deployment of anti-ship missiles in the country's southern prefecture of Okinawa to counter China, Japan's Asahi newspaper reported Tuesday. 

    According to the outlet, the Japanese Defense Ministry, as well as the country's National Security Council, will decide the issue by year's end. If the plan is adopted Japan's military will deploy anti-ship missiles with a range of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) in Okinawa.

    Tokyo could also deploy missiles capable of hitting targets at range of about 100 kilometers (62 miles), the Kyodo news agency reported citing government sources.

    Japan has become increasingly concerned over China's rising activities in the East China Sea, especially near Miyako Island and the disputed Senkaku Islands, also known by their Chinese name as the Diaoyu Islands.

    READ MORE: Chinese Ships Conduct Patrol Near Disputed Senkaku Islands — Reports

    Earlier this year, Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama lodged a formal protest with China's Foreign Ministry over the latter's “provocative” actions, after China's warships and a submarine entered the waters near the disputed islands. 

    The uninhabited islands were historically part of China before being annexed by Japan following their victory during the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895.

    After World War II, the islands were occupied by the United States and returned back to Japan in 1972, but by then a potential treasure trove of oil and natural gas had been identified in the surrounding area.

    Since then, China has objected to Japanese activity, including nationalizing several of the islands in 2012 and building a lighthouse on one in 2014.

    China has continued to sail naval vessels through the disputed waters, with the number of such cases reaching 114 in 2017, according to the Japanese Coast Guard.

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    anti-ship missiles, Japan, Okinawa
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