The Defense Ministry has provided residents of Kitadaitojima with an explanation about its plan to deploy an Air Self-Defense Force mobile surveillance radar system on the island in Okinawa Prefecture.

At a meeting with 100 residents on Thursday, the ministry said it plans to acquire two sites with a total area of about 8 hectares owned by the village of Kitadaito, adding that about 30 ASDF troops will be stationed on the island.

The ministry stressed the need to build a tight surveillance system in the Pacific, where the Chinese military is increasing its activities.

Kitadaitojima, which has a population of some 560, is located some 360 kilometers east of Okinawa's main island. Japan has no fixed radar systems on remote Pacific islands, including Tokyo's Izu and Ogasawara chains, thus leaving the areas not sufficiently covered by the country's surveillance activities.

At the meeting, held at the request of the village, a resident expressed concern over possible impacts of the planned radar deployment on daily life such as agriculture and fisheries operations. Another resident said the process of realizing the plan lacks transparency.

The ministry told participating residents that it has yet to decide when to deploy the radar system and that an environmental survey will be conducted.

In December 2021, the Kitadaito assembly adopted an opinion paper saying that the village hopes to host a Self-Defense Forces facility.

Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said during a news conference on July 14 that Kitadaitojima is a "major candidate site" for the deployment of a mobile surveillance radar system.

Kitadaito Mayor Mitsumasa Miyagi told reporters after the meeting that he has long wanted a radar system to be deployed on the island. Local residents are living in fear as Chinese military vessels are repeatedly conducting exercises in nearby waters, he said.