TOKYO, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Self Defense Forces (SDF) have deployed surface-to-ship missiles in an unprecedented move on Okinawa's Miyako Island, according to Japanese defense ministry officials.
The unit containing the missiles will be based on the small island temporarily and will be used in ongoing drills in the area that began on Nov. 1 and will conclude on Nov. 18, they said.
The missile assemblies arrived at the Hirara Port on the island by ferry earlier Wednesday from a base in Hokkaido and are scheduled to be deployed to a radar site on Miyako Island, the officials said.
The arrival of the missiles was delayed for around an hour due to local protesters attempting to block the weapons from entering the port's gates, with placards denouncing the exercise as dangerous, unnecessary and not in the islander's best interests.
The drill will also see another unit of missiles arrive on the island from a base in Aomori Prefecture, and be utilized in exercises involving a Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force destroyer playing the role of a "hostile" vessel.
The defense ministry said that the surface-to-ship missiles have the range to strike targets anywhere in waters between Miyako and the main island of Okinawa, but added that the drills did not have any specific threat or country in mind.
They added that communications equipment and operatives have also been deployed on Ishigaki Island for drills there and that plans were also in place for Japan's Joint SDF to practice a maritime and airborne scenario where a remote island needs defending.
Separately, the defense ministry's press office was quoted by local media as saying Tuesday that the ministry is considering adding two more Aegis-equipped destroyers to its fleet to bring the total number of the high-tech destroyers to eight.
The Daily Yomiuri Shimbun said the government is planning to have the two new ships ready and deployed within ten years as part of a broader defense program to be endorsed by the end of this year.
The ministry itself confirmed that adding two more Aegis- equipped vessels was an option being considered under a review of new defense guidelines.
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System was developed by the United States to provide defense against ballistic missiles by shooting them down mid-flight.
Aegis-enabled warships have the capacity to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles, or forward targeting information to ground units to deploy missiles to intercept ballistic threats.
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TOKYO, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Japan and the United States have reaffirmed their commitment to forming a more robust military alliance in Asia, with both sides eyeing major deployments of new military hardware in the region under a mandate of a "rebalancing of power" in the area and a broader global security ideology.
The recent "two-plus-two" meetings in Tokyo between the two countries' foreign and defense chiefs saw each side give a tacit nod to bolstering military hardware in the region in a bid to augment both sides' joint military capabilities. Full story