Japan is considering deploying F-35B advanced stealth fighter jets to an Air Self-Defense Force base in Miyazaki Prefecture, government sources said Sunday, in a bid to boost defense capabilities around the country's remote southwestern islands in light of China's muscle-flexing at sea.

The envisioned deployment of the aircraft to Nyutabaru Air Base is aimed at keeping in check China's maritime assertiveness around the area, including the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. China claims the uninhabited islands which it calls Diaoyu.

The government aims to make the F-35Bs, which are capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings, operational in 2024 and create a fighter unit for this purpose, the sources said.