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The Ground Self-Defense Force has marked a historic milestone with the launch of its first dedicated amphibious brigade, a type of unit that was long deemed too offensive to possess under Japan’s postwar defensive security policy.

“Our goal is to become the world’s top-class amphibious operation unit,” Maj. Gen. Shinichi Aoki, who leads the brigade, said at a news conference Saturday following a ceremony to mark the launch of the unit, which will be based in the port city of Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.

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