The new amphibious unit being formed by the Self-Defense Forces will likely be based in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, according to Defense Ministry officials.
The ministry has opened talks with the Sasebo Municipal Government on the plan, the officials said. It calls for the new force to be based at the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Camp Ainoura. The vehicles it will use are expected to be deployed at an MSDF facility in the city.
The amphibious force is designed to strengthen Japan’s ability to defend the remote Nansei Island chain, better known as the Ryukyus, which includes Okinawa as well as the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The SDF has been training for scenarios in which it retakes islands seized by hostile forces.
The 700-strong Western Army Infantry Regiment in charge of remote island protection and disaster relief is stationed at Ainoura. Under the plan, the regiment will be reorganized into an amphibious regiment at first, with two more to be added by the end of fiscal 2018 through March 2019.