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Japan begins surface-to-ship missile drills on Pacific gateway island

18 Comments

Japanese soldiers practised surface-to-ship missile drills Monday on an island at the gateway to the Pacific, as part of a huge military exercise that has unsettled China.

The practice on Miyako was part of 18-day war games which Japan began earlier this month. They aim to strengthen the Self-Defense Forces' ability to protect remote territory, as a row with China over the sovereignty of some islands continues to rattle nerves.

The strait between Miyako and the main island of Okinawa offers one of the few direct access points to the ocean.

No missile was actually fired during Monday's drill, which was watched by members of the media -- including a large Chinese contingent, correspondents said -- and saw men in camouflage readying SSM1 missile batteries.

"Today's drill was aimed at training cooperation among our units," the commander of the fourth anti-warship missile regiment told reporters.

Around 34,000 military personnel, six vessels and 360 aircraft are involved in the war games, which will also see the deployment of F-15 fighter jets and Patriot surface-to-air missile systems.

The exercise comes amid growing nervousness in Japan and other parts of Asia over China's surging military might, which has seen it expand its naval reach into the Pacific Ocean.

As well as its diplomatic fisticuffs with Tokyo, Beijing is also butting heads with a number of southeast Asian countries over its claims to virtually the whole of the South China Sea and the islands within it.

Okinawa is a significant location for the anti-ship missiles because it sits on one side of the main navigable strait for Chinese vessels wanting to get into the Pacific Ocean.

Tokyo has said the drill is not aimed at any specific nation, but Japanese leaders have openly expressed disquiet as China escalates its territorial claims.

© (c) 2013 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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These missiles will be used to shut down asteroids :)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As usual one sided reporting. The aggressor beating on the aggrieved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan can defend her territory, with live fire.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sorry if I offend but Japan appears to be becoming very aggressive towards its neighbours again, that helped her during her time of need. ie Synami, But that don't take away the facts of history that in any conflict innocent people die remember why Japan surrendered it could have been worse if more atomic bombs had been used because of the Japanese government of the time expansionisms policies. As is it appears now please correct me if I am wrong. But things look bad no mater what way one looks at the situation one should not promote or provoke war. Exercises are great but be careful of what the reasons really are. Annexation is expanistism, so please be wise and tread very carefully.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Japan should consider arming with nukes soon

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Ron BarnesNov. 11, 2013 - 09:12PM JST Sorry if I offend but Japan appears to be becoming very aggressive towards its neighbours again,

Then you haven't been keeping up with the news for the last two years. Chinese military and territorial expansion has been considered by all of Asia as the biggest threat to regional peace. Japan is merely responding to this increased threat.

that helped her during her time of need. ie Synami,

China's "help" after the earthquake/tsunami was practically nonexistent in comparison with US assistance.

But that don't take away the facts of history that in any conflict innocent people die remember why Japan surrendered >it could have been worse if more atomic bombs had been used because of the Japanese government of the time >expansionisms policies. As is it appears now please correct me if I am wrong. But things look bad no mater what way >one looks at the situation one should not promote or provoke war. Exercises are great but be careful of what the >reasons really are. Annexation is expanistism, so please be wise and tread very carefully.

You are very wrong. Firstly, "more atomic bombs" could not have been dropped in 1945 because the U.S. only had two. Secondly, it is China, Communist China, the world's most powerful dictatorship, that while harping and whining about Japans 70 year old history poses a threat to Asia today. China needs to stop taking actions that could provoke war. Your reference annexation makes no sense as it has no bearing on current Sino-Japanese issues. But, you're right, China needs to get out of Tibet and East Turkestan, and give back the Spratleys and back off the Senkakus. There is no rationale for wanting to control the entire "South and East China Seas and their sealanes other than EXPANSIONISM, strategic hegemony and regional dominance. China needs to wisen up.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Japan can defend her territory, with live fire.

These so called gateways aren't Japanese territories but international sea channels. Unless Japan wants to resume its old habit of sneak attack in peace times, these missiles will be useless to Chinese vessels using these channels.

And in a major war, these anti-ship missiles won't be that useful too since the Chinese can always fly their missiles directly to Tokyo or they can attack the numerous nuclear power plants located throughout Japan.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

What's the reason for the JSDF to practice such war games using surface-to-vessel missiles?

The broad strait between Miyako Island and Okinawa Island offers a direct access point for Chines ships to pass to and from the Pacific Ocean, as the article says.

My questions are: (1) Don't the Chinese naval forces have a right to navigate international waters and pass this strait? (2) Are the Chinese ships certain to bombard either Miyako Island or Okinawa Island? Answer to question (1): Yes, they certainly do. Answer to question (2): No, it's absolutely unthinkable.

The real aim of these war games would then be somewhere else. By inciting the China threat and on the pretext of this, Tokyo wants to strengthen a military alliance with the U.S., thus paving the way to facilitate the quicker relocation of Futenma to Henoko.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

It is okay for Japan to do its military exercises. Just keep quiet when others do theirs instead of claiming hurt and asking uncle Joe for protection!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan has every right to defend her soil, no matter where it is, from outside aggression to take it away from Japan.

Japan should also retink the use of a nuclear deturant for every Chinse warship has nuclear weapons on-board their ships so they would not have to return to port to be fitted with them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Let me guess.... they began whining about Chinese incursions at about the same time, claiming to be the victim, and asking the US for help.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Annexation is expansionism, so please be wise and tread very carefully....

Japan isn't doing the expanding, China is. I guess I'm confused as to why Japan holding a military drill on it's own territory would be considered expansionist.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Let me guess.... they began whining about Chinese incursions at about the same time, claiming to be the victim, and asking the US for help.

You guessed wrong as usual. It was the Chinese who complained about JDSF monitoring their exercizes in the Pacific.

This exercize by Japan is conducted in their territory. It's also another signal Japan is and will be prepared (Yonakuni council approved JSDF base there recently) if push comes to shove.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

If japan is keen on protecting it's soil then it's the same for others too!... "Violence begets violence" we all know any form of violence will only ignite more intense hate for each other... Our current PM wholeheartedly believes Japan needs to re-establish it's pride and strength by fortifying it's military forces... but the only way to diffuse the current dilemma with China is through mutual understanding and compromise and NOT with military confrontations which will only further intensify chances of War.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Guru29Nov. 11, 2013 - 10:46PM JST "Japan can defend her territory, with live fire. Unless Japan wants to resume its old habit of sneak attack

You mean like he 250,000 Chinese "volunteers" who crossed over the Yalu to kill UN troops?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Another mystery about these war games is what role is the Japan- (Okinawa-) based U.S. military supposed to play here, whose presence is ballyhooed to defend Japan?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Ron Barnes

Napoleon (France) ravaged Europe but people forgot after a while. Apparently they can't forget about Japan.

It's okay for Germany and Italy to play major roles in NATO. But Japan defending itself is a "cause for concern".

European powers were still trying to subjugate their colonies after WW2 - England in India and Kenya, France in North Africa and Vietnam, The Netherlands in Indonesia, etc. But Japanese are apparently a special case but they are the wrong colour?

Even Russia gets more credit, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union no so long ago, and Mr. Putin being in power? Astonishing when you think about it.
-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Does Tokyo want to send a message to Washington that there's no need for the U.S. military presence in Japan anymore, or did Washington decline, despite Tokyo's asking, to hold a joint military exercise this time? It's probably the latter and, if so, it will tell a lot of story.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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