MOD states GSDF missile unit activities on Miyako might extend to civilian land

May 19, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

(Tokyo) At the House of Councilors Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense meeting on May 18, Bureau of Defense Buildup Planning director Keiichi Takahashi indicated the possibility that as part of the planned deployment of Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) to Miyakojima City, the missile unit planned to be deployed might station missile launchers and the like on civilian land. He did not clarify whether exercises would be performed outside of GSDF facilities on the island. He also avoided referring to the possibility that SDF ships might dock at civilian ports to supply goods and the like. His comments were in response to a question by Diet member Yoichi Iha of the faction Okinawa Whirlwind.

In response to the North Korea missile issue in February 2016, PAC-3 surface-to-air guided missiles were deployed to civilian land outside SDF facilities in Miyakojima City and Ishigaki City. Thus, Iha asked whether the missile unit to be deployed to Miyakojima would also extend their activities outside of SDF facilities.

Takahashi stated that during a contingency the launching locations for surface-to-ship missiles (SSM) and surface-to-air missiles (SAM) are generally not specified, and further stated that launchers might be deployed outside of SDF facilities, saying, “We do not eliminate the possibility of stationing units off-base in accordance with need.”

Iha also asked whether SDF ships might utilize Hirara Port in order to supply goods and the like. The Ministry of Defense avoided giving an explicit response, merely stating, “We cannot say for certain.” However, it did indicate the possibility that facility units for digging tunnels to hide SDF equipment and the like might be dispatched from Kyushu or elsewhere.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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