Tokyo and Washington are exploring the possibility of deploying U.S. military drones to a Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Kyushu — the first time American drones would be sent to an SDF base.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said Friday that the government was considering the temporary deployment of U.S. Air Force MQ-9 unmanned surveillance aircraft to the MSDF's Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Around seven MQ-9 drones would be deployed to the base, with about 100 U.S. personnel expected to operate and maintain the aircraft, according to media reports.