US Military and JSDF to permanently use Okidaito Island for military operations

October 7, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The U.S. and Japanese government agreed upon sharing with the U.S. military the water and air area around Okidaito Island of Kitadaito Village, which currently hosts a U.S. military shooting range, at the joint U.S.-Japan commission on October 6. The area will be used by both the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF).

According to the Ministry of Defense, JSDF will carry out training for anti-surface naval gunfire on escort warships, as well as landing training. It has also been announced that the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Force will carry out field training exercises at the existing U.S. military facilities in Okinawa. A strong coalition between the U.S. military and JSDF is clear in the agreement, and it indicates an increase of training that involves real fight simulation.

It is the first approval of permanent use of U.S. military facilities by the JSDF since the realignment roadmap of U.S. forces in Japan was agreed on in May 2006, when JSDF trainings at Camp Hansen were approved.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the agreement at the joint U.S.-Japan commission enables JSDF to use the shooting range at Okidaito Island for about 20 days a year. The use of the range by both U.S. and Japan is allowed up to 180 days per year.

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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