GRIST FOR MORE TROOP ALLOCATIONS?

GSDF gamed attack by N. Korea

The Ground Self-Defense Force compiled a secret contingency plan last year to deal with possible large-scale attacks by North Korean special agents, sources familiar with the plan said Saturday.

The plan was apparently compiled with the aim of appealing for more manpower ahead of the government’s move to revise the National Defense Program Outline by the end of this year.

With the introduction of a new missile defense system, the government is expected to further downsize conventional weaponry like tanks and heavy artillery, which would likely result in reduced manpower needs.

As for overall defense against foreign attacks, the contingency plan estimated that 230,000 troops are necessary for the GSDF alone — far more than the current total of 146,000.

According to the sources, the plan, compiled by the Defense Agency’s Ground Staff Office, is based on a scenario of up to 2,500 special agents infiltrating Japan, and sees the need to deploy GSDF troops at 135 key facilities nationwide, including government buildings and nuclear power plants.

The sources said the office’s Plans and Operations Department prepared the plan in November as a secret “concept on building a new structure” for the GSDF.

Mirroring the office’s strong caution about North Korea, the plan points to possible attacks, such as the assassination of leading figures as well as the use of chemical and biological weapons. It also cites the presence of pro-Pyongyang Korean residents in Japan who may support the agents.

The plan specifies the North Korean core forces for the attacks as the 66th and 67th battalions, in charge of Japan under the reconnaissance bureau of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces and two battalions of special troops under the North Korean air force.

Under the plan’s scenario, 800 to 2,500 special agents from those battalions would enter Japan in teams of five to 10 troops capable of handing biological and chemical weapons, the sources said.

The plan assumes that the agents would enter Japan by semisubmersible vessels transported by spy ships near Japan’s coasts, and wooden aircraft difficult to detect by radar that would land at golf courses and other open spaces at night. The GSDF would set up radar facilities every 10 km on the coast from Hokkaido to Kyushu, but the plan concludes it would be difficult to completely prevent covert infiltrations.