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Japan will develop a new land-to-sea missile as part of plans to beef up its defense of remote southern islands, as tensions with China increase over the disputed territory, a report said Sunday.
The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands, which Tokyo calls the Senkakus. The report comes after repeated protests by Japanese foreign ministry officials over what Tokyo calls “intrusions” by Chinese ships in the territorial and contiguous waters of the rocky islands.
Tokyo plans to deploy the weapon, which reportedly will have a range of 300km on islands such as Miyako in Okinawa prefecture, the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said, without citing sources. The range will cover the disputed island chain, the Yomiuri said, adding that the deployment is expected by 2023. Officials at the Defense Ministry could not be reached for comment.
“In light of China’s repeated acts of provocation around the Senkaku Islands, Japan aims to increase deterrence with improved long-range strike capability,” the newspaper stated. The missile will be developed by Japan and will use solid fuel, the Yomiuri said, referring to the technology that allows for weapon’s long-term storage and capacity to be launched at short notice. (AFP)