The Japanese plan to deploy up to 1,050 troops to the Senkaku Islands. The island chain is also claimed by Taiwan and China. The Japanese intend to establish a military presence in the area.
In recent years, the Chinese have built up its military. What the Chinese want is a blue water navy capable of projecting its presence far across the Pacific. Doing that means exerting its presence in the South China Sea and the East China Sea where the Senkaku Islandsare located.
Pending on which nationality is asked the Senkaku Islandsare not called by that name. The Japanese call them the Diaoyutai. The Taiwanese, who also claim the islands, call them Senkakus. The Chinese call the archipelago Diaoyu. The area in dispute is south of Kyushu, north of Taiwan, and east of China. The three islands are uninhabited. Their only use is for strategic purposes. The nation that controls the area would have a forward base of operation against the other two.
The three places where the Japanese will deploy troops are Amamioshima, Miyako, and Ishigaki. Each will receive 350 troops. Currently, there is a Japanese radar surveillance station on the island of Yonaguni. A Japanese military presence, along with a reminder to Taiwan and China that Japan is an ally of the US, is expected to resolve the issue of who controls the region.
Lacking a military presence in the area has left the Japanese concerned. The Chinese have asserted their presence in the South China Sea by placing an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam. The Vietnamese have rioted against Chinese businesses in their country. Thousands of Chinese have evacuated from Vietnam. China has also established a presence on Johnson South Reef, a 74 acre deserted island that has escalated tensions with the Philippines. A lack of military forces in the Senkaku Islandshas the Japanese government alarmed that the Chinese will create an incident to occupy the area if the Japanese fail to take action.
Chinese coast guard ships regularly sail among the islands. They are met by Japanese coast guard ships. The Japanese believe it is only a matter of time before ships of the Chinese navy enter the area. By deploying 1,050 soldiers to the region, the Japanese government wants to end Taiwanese and Chinese claims to the Senkaku Islands. A military presence on Amamioshima, Miyako, and Ishigaki will let the Taiwanese and Chinese know that the Japanese will stake a military claim to the area.
Ryota Takeda, the Japanese Deputy Minister of Defense, plans to visit Amamioshima, later in the week. Minister of Defense Ryota Takeda will also explore establishing a joint research project in the Senkaku Islandswith his government.
Yoshihide Suga, a Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, said that under Japan’s new defense program, his nation has already decided to bolster its military presence in the Senkaku Islands. They have been conducting research in the area.
The Japanese believe the only way to stop Chinese expansion into the East China Sea is through containment. By deploying up to 1,050 troops in the Senkaku Islands, the Japanese expect to hinder China’s reach into the region.
By Brian T. Yates