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Japan to deploy Type 12 anti-ship missiles to remote southwestern islands by 2023

The missiles will counter potential attacks from China

Miyako Island is in Okinawa Prefecture.

Miyako Island is in Okinawa Prefecture. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japan will deploy Type 12 anti-ship missiles on Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island by 2023 to combat China’s encroachment upon its territorial waters, according to daily newspaper the Sankei Shimbun.

The announcement came as part of a series of military developments on remote islands in Japan’s southwestern seas. The Japanese government opened new Ground Self-Defense Force bases on Amami Oshima island in Kagoshima Prefecture in March.

Ishigaki Island, which sits 250 km from northeastern Taiwan, belongs to the same prefecture as the Diaoyutai Islands, which Japan, Taiwan and China all claim ownership of. Chinese vessels regularly intrude into the area.

The developments will force China to think twice before trespassing, a senior military official told the newspaper.

The proposed Type 12 surface-to-surface missiles (SSM) hold a potential range of 400 km. Similar, air-to-ship missiles will deployed on maritime patrol aircrafts, according to the report.

They will be first introduced to Miyako Island next year, and Ishigaki Island within the next three years.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy have begun to regularly pass through the Miyako Strait and intend to normalize patrol operations there, the military official said. The range of the anti-ship missiles will cover the entire Miyako Strait and the waters surrounding the Senkaku islands.

If Chinese warships cross into Japan’s eastern waters and threaten to commandeer the Diaoyutai Islands, they said, they will be attacked from both sides.