Japan is building missile bases on islands off the coast of China in a bid to counter the rising threat from its communist neighbor. The country’s military – which has long been restricted by its post-Second World War pacifist constitution – has been constructing anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons on Ishigaki, 200 miles from eastern China and just off the coast of Taiwan. It is one of many islands in the Yaeyama archipelago to be garrisoned by the Japanese, with soldiers bringing new weapons and radar technology to the area.
The Japanese army – or Ground Self-Defense Force – told the Wall Street Journal it plans to deploy between 500 and 600 soldiers to Ishigaki to operate a missile system there. It comes after the country announced its intention to buy offensive air-to-surface missiles to counter North Korea’s rising military threat. Defence secretary Itsunori Onodera said the ministry intends to request a special budget for the fiscal year starting April 2018 to purchase long-range cruise missiles to be deployed on fighter jets. READ MORE