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Japan eyes F-35 deployment in south for Senkaku defense

Kyushu air base cited as 'leading candidate' for new jets, with focus on China

The F-35B's short-takeoff and vertical-landing capabilities make the jet well suited to defending remote Japanese islands. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marines)

TOKYO -- Japan is giving strong consideration to positioning new F-35B stealth fighter jets on the southern island of Kyushu, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi indicated Tuesday, a move that would beef up deterrence against China's increasingly frequent maritime forays in the East China Sea.

The Air Self-Defense Force's Nyutabaru Air Base in Miyazaki Prefecture in southern Kyushu "is certainly a leading candidate," Kishi told reporters. Tokyo aims to bring the planes into service in 2024.

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