Japan on Thursday deployed Ground Self-Defense Force units including missile squads to a remote southern island near the disputed Senkaku Islands and Taiwan, apparently in response to China's intensifying military activities in nearby waters.
Up to 570 GSDF members will be stationed at a newly established garrison on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture, with some assigned to land-to-ship and land-to-air missile units, according to the Defense Ministry.
The island is located less than 200 kilometers south of the Senkaku island group in the East China Sea. The islands are controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing. Chinese coast guard vessels have repeatedly entered Japanese waters around the uninhabited islets.