Ministry of Defense considers establishing depot in Okinawa at JGSDF Vice-Camp Katsuren


July 3, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


It recently came to light that the Ministry of Defense (MOD) is considering locations in Okinawa for depots to store ammunition and other resources for Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF). Establishing such a depot at JGSDF Vice-Camp Katsuren in Uruma City is a plan that the MOD is highly considering.


Also, the MOD wants to simultaneously introduce transport ships to carry Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel and materials between the Nansei Islands. The MOD is further advancing its move toward functional enhancement of SDF bases in Okinawa under the pretense of providing the Nansei Islands with defense capabilities.

In March this year, the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade was established under the JGSDF at Camp Ainoura in Nagasaki Prefecture with the responsibility of performing island recapture operations. Due to ongoing construction such as that of JGSDF camps on Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island, the need for more depots is also rising. Before this point, the lack of depots in Okinawa, and potential advancements to inter-island transport, were not been pointed out as matters to which to attend.

Currently, the JGSDF has depots in Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai, and Kyushu equipped with resources such as ammunition and fuel for training and emergencies as well as logistical support. Subdepots and branches can be established under depots. So, substructures may be established under depots in Okinawa or under Kyushu Logistics Depot on JGSDF Camp Metabaru in Saga Prefecture.

Vice-Camp Katsuren is near White Beach, which is used jointly by the SDF and U.S. military. Katsuren is equipped with a depot and for Marine transport.

However, because the SDF is currently using private ferries to transport personnel and materials, some have strongly encouraged the SDF to use its own form of transportation. Now the SDF is exploring options for a plan to bring in its own form of transport.

The MOD aims to have the plans it is considering reflected in its National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program, which will both be formulated by the end of this year.


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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