700 JGSDF members stationed at Miyako-jima attend ceremony amid pandemic

700 JGSDF members stationed at Miyako-jima attend ceremony amid pandemic

JGSDF members stationed at Miyako-jima base photographed on the morning of April 5, at Ueno-nobaru, Miyako-jima City, Miyako-jima.

April 5, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo


Miyako-jima, Okinawa—On April 5, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 15th Brigade held a ceremony to conclude the military structuring of Miyako-jima base in Ueno-nobaru, Miyako-jima City. The event was held against requests from the city and the local medical association to delay, given the recent spread of COVID-19. Locals staged a protest outside the main gate of the base, demanding the deployment of forces to stop. They handed a letter of protest to a JGSDF member, stating that they “strongly oppose the military fortification of Miyako-jima, as it brings to the island the dangers of war.”


The base opened in March 2019, where approximately JGSDF 380 members were deployed as the Miyako Area Security Force. In addition, in March of this year, the JSDF’s surface-to-air missile and surface-to-ship missile units, comprising approximately 240 members, were deployed to Miyako, bringing the total number of JGSDF members stationed on the island to approximately 700.


According to the JGSDF in Miyako-jima, vehicles fitted with missile launch pads and other equipment to be used by its units are now mostly installed, with the exception of ammunition.


Commander of Miyako-jima, Colonel (itto rikusa) Shinji Sato said at the ceremony, “The national security environment of our nation is intensifying. Miyako-jima separates the East China Sea from the Pacific Ocean and is a point of strategic importance. It is the frontline in defending the [country’s] southwestern region. We intend to protect the islands, demonstrate the nation’s resolve, and fill the void of military presence in the southwestern region.”


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)


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