Tension over “Taiwan Contingency” Grows at Ishigaki Garrison, an Important Base for “Confrontation with China | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Tension over “Taiwan Contingency” Grows at Ishigaki Garrison, an Important Base for “Confrontation with China

Opened in March of this year, the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) deploys about 570 elite troops and the latest military equipment.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

Recently, China has been frequently making demonstrations in the Nansei Islands.

On April 7-9, the aircraft carrier USS Sandong, together with a missile destroyer and other vessels, sailed off the southern coast of Miyako Island; on April 15-16, a Dong Diao class information gathering ship sailed southwestward through the Osumi Strait; and on April 21-22, two Chinese bombers flew between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island.

A “Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile” deployed at the garrison. In the future, “Tomahawk” and domestically produced cruise missiles may also be placed PHOTO: Takuya Noguchi

This is an unprecedented move. For President Xi Jinping to become a charismatic figure like Mao Zedong, he needs public recognition on the military front, and for that, Taiwan reunification is essential. It is safe to assume that he is preparing for a “Taiwan contingency” while checking Japan and, by extension, the U.S. with a show of force.

Why did China suddenly become more active in April? It is said that one of the reasons is the emergence of a potential barrier to Xi Jinping’s long-held dream of “Taiwan reunification. Military journalist Masayuki Kikuchi explains.

On March 16, the “Ishigaki Garrison of the Ground Self-Defense Force” was opened. The Ministry of Defense had previously established garrisons on Yonaguni Island, Miyako Island, and Amami Oshima, but this Ishigaki Garrison completes the defense line for the islands of the Nansei Isles.

The Ishigaki Garrison is manned by about 570 of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s elite troops (second photo). Among the garrisons in the Nansei Islands, Ishigaki Island will be a particularly important base.

The key point will be the 303rd Surface-to-Ship Missile Company, which will consist of about 60 personnel. The Ministry of Defense is planning to develop a domestically produced cruise missile with ‘enemy base attack capability,’ but it is said that it will take nearly 10 years before it is deployed. Therefore, the Ministry of Defense is planning to purchase the Tomahawk, a cruise missile with a maximum range of 2,500 km, from the U.S. as a “bridge” missile. Ishigaki Island is said to be the best place to deploy the Tomahawk. From here, the Tomahawk missiles should be able to reach ballistic missile launch bases on the coasts of North Korea and China.

China’s repeated acts of demonstration are probably due to its recognition of the importance of Ishigaki Island. Tension over the “Taiwan contingency” is growing by the day.

About 570 troops are stationed at Ishigaki Garrison. Including their families, approximately 830 people, or about 2% of Ishigaki citizens, have moved to the area.
The Ishigaki Garrison covers an area of 47 hectares, or 10 times the size of Tokyo Dome. About 150 new dormitories have been built for the troops.

From “FRIDAY” May 12 and 19, 2023

  • PHOTO Takuya Noguchi

Photo Gallery3 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles