JAPAN is putting missiles on islands marking the gateway to the Pacific, officials said, as part of a huge military drill that has unsettled Beijing.
The exercise, aimed at bolstering Japan’s defence of remote islands, has already seen a launching system and a loader for Type-88 surface-to-ship missiles installed on Miyako island, complete with two missiles.
Four more missiles were due to arrive on the main island of Okinawa later on Thursday. It was not clear how long they would remain in place.
“This is the first time” that missile systems have been taken to Miyako, said a spokesman for the Joint Staff of the Self Defence Forces, adding that the missiles could not be fired in their present state.
“The drill is designed for the defence of islands,” he said.
While the Japanese military makes no secret of the fact these missiles are not operable, observers say their deployment serves to remind anyone watching of Japan’s capabilities.