Amid changing geo-political situation in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is mulling increasing the number of its defense units over the next decade, a draft plan has revealed.
“Japan is considering almost tripling the number of units in its Self-Defense Forces equipped with ballistic missile interception capabilities in the country's remote southwestern islands by the end of fiscal 2031,” Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported on Monday.
Six of the seven units being upgraded will be based in the southern province of Okinawa and one will be deployed on Amami-Oshima Island in southwestern Kagoshima province.
A total of 14 surface-to-air units across Japan will obtain the capability to intercept missiles, the draft plan said.
Tokyo may also update its National Defense Program Guidelines, a 10-year defense buildup policy, which is set to be updated by the end of 2022.
“Japan plans to increase the number of SDF (Self-Defense Forces) ballistic missile defense units in the Nansei Islands, an island chain stretching southwest from Kyushu toward Taiwan, up to 11 from the current four by the fiscal year that ends in March 2032,” the draft shows.
This development comes as friction between the US, its allies and China has seen an uptick recently in the region as Washington leads the Quad in the wider region to contain Beijing’s expanding military and economic influence.
Quad is a loose security alliance that includes Japan, Australia, and India as well.