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Japan’s GSDF Establishes New Base on Ishigaki Island

Japan's Defense Ministry has set up a new Ground Self-Defence Force base on the southwestern island of Ishigaki.[0] This garrison, located between Okinawa Prefecture and Taiwan, will be home to approximately 570 personnel, including units for land-to-ship and land-to-air missiles.[1] The missiles are believed to include Type-12 surface-to-ship and Type 03 medium-range surface-to-air guided missiles.[2]

This move is part of Japan's ramping up of military bases in Okinawa, a band of 150 islands located in the East China Sea.[3] Ishigaki is located 200 kilometres south of the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited island chain claimed by China, Taiwan, and Japan.[3] This area has become a key point of focus for rising tensions in the region.[3]

The newly established base reinforces the presence of the GSDF in the region, with troops and missile units moving south from Ground Self-Defense Force camps in Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures.[2] The official confirmation of the troops coming in on Thursday was made by the country's military.[3]

Ishigaki has become extremely popular among holidaymakers and scuba divers for its tropical waters.[4] With the creation of the new base, Japan is hoping to further strengthen its security presence in the area.

0. “GSDF Camp Set Up on Japan's Ishigaki Remote Island” Nippon.com, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2023031601028/

1. “Japan moves missile capable troops into remote island base as regional tensions rise” News8000.com – WKBT, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.news8000.com/news/national-world/japan-moves-missile-capable-troops-into-remote-island-base-as-regional-tensions-rise/article_ce4ad6e6-3bf0-5af2-8d69-f0a6fc1f1aae.html

2. “Japanese missile base to open for business this week on island near Taiwan” Stars and Stripes, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2023-03-14/japan-new-missile-base-taiwan-9488188.html

3. “World News | Amid Security Concerns, Japan Deploys Troops on Remote Islands Near China, Taiwan” LatestLY, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.latestly.com/agency-news/world-news-amid-security-concerns-japan-deploys-troops-on-remote-islands-near-china-taiwan-4962489.html

4. “Japan moves missile capable troops into remote island base as regional tensions rise” CNN, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/17/asia/japan-new-defense-base-disputed-islands-intl-hnk/index.html

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