Japan Going to Expand Okinawa-based Armed Forces to Possible Conflict Across Taiwan Strait

According to a source on December 3rd, Japan considers expanding its Okinawa-based ground troops to defend remote southwestern islands and prepare for the contingency across the Taiwan Strait.

The 15th brigade, stationed in the Okinawa prefectural capital of Naha, has become the vanguard to protect the Nansei Islands, a chain of islands including Okinawa that stretches southwest from Kyushu toward Taiwan. Considering CCP’s maritime expansion, the Defense Ministry has continued to reinforce the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Okinawa. Tokyo established a coastal surveillance unit in 2016 on the westernmost inhabited island of Yonaguni, located about 100 kilometers from Taiwan. The Defense Ministry planned to increase the number of infantry regiments under the Ground SDF 15th brigade to two, with its highest rank raised from major general to general. Moreover, the plan is expected to be included in three key security documents, such as National Security Strategy, to be revised by the end of 2022.

In addition, to increase the number of units in charge of supplies, communications and taking care of facilities are also increased and intensified with the scale-up of operations. The 15th brigade currently has about 2,200 members, including regular infantry regiments, an air defense special operations regiment and a reconnaissance regiment. After the reconstruction, the brigade is expected to have around 3,000 members.

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Translator: NFSC News
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