Japan plans to deploy SAM near Taiwan 04/01/2023 | Fabio Di Felice

As reported by some American media, Japan Defense Ministry leadership is planning to expand Camp Yonaguni, a Ground Self-Defense Force base on Yonaguni Island which is approximately 115 km east of Taiwan, in the Nansei Island chain. The plan is to accommodate a new Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) unit to reinforce the shore defenses, with funds for the extension of the base already included in the defense budget for fiscal year 2023. In accordance with the statement provided by Defence Ministry spokesman, Takeshi Aoki, during a press conference, the deployment of this kind of unit is a crystal clear evidence of Japan determination to not accept changing of the status quo by force, trying to decrease the probabilities of any attack by enhancing deterrence power against attacks on the Japanese Islands. The Nansei chain includes Okinawa and stretches from Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s 4 main islands, southwest to Taiwan. Camp Yonaguni would join Amami Oshima, Miyako and Ishigaki islands as Japanese SAM sites, expecting to be operational by April 1, 2023. Japanese Government has already assessed some friction with the local community, which could protest against the base expansion due to the impact which this could have on the island and the entire Nansei chain population. Japan’s Defense Minister, Yasukazu Hamada, will provide explanations in detail to the people regarding the situation the country is facing and how Japan will prepare its forces. It is simple to anticipate the content of them, considering what reported in the National Defense Strategy released on the 16th of December, clearly identifies China’s effort to change the status quo, Russian military activity in the region and North Korea’s accelerated ballistic missile program as the top causes for concern which require significant answers. As already reported by RID, Japan is not only strengthening its air and missile defense, but it is also enhancing its standoff counter-offensive capabilities: purchasing US-made TOMAHAWK missiles, developing a version of its Type 12 anti-ship cruise missile that extends its range from 120 to 620 miles, and last, for sure not least, developing a new, and ambitious, hypersonic guided missiles program. It has been the major country defense buildup since the WWII and the end of its longtime pacifist constraints, pushed by the Japanese public support following the Ukraine crisis.

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