ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Politics

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.

Deploying the advanced fighters on Kyushu would put them near the Senkaku Islands to Japan's southwest, which are administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing. Recent months have seen a sharp rise in official Chinese vessels sailing near the islands, and recent legislation positioning China's coast guard as a quasi-military force has set off alarm bells in Tokyo.

The ministry sees the F-35B as a key element of its defense strategy for remote islands due to its short-takeoff and vertical-landing capabilities. Japan's medium-term defense program calls for adding 18 of the planes to its forces by fiscal 2023.

"We're focusing on existing air bases that already have fighter jet squadrons deployed," Kishi said. He did not provide a specific time frame for the positioning.

Tokyo aims to settle on a deployment location as early as this fiscal year following discussion with local communities. It will then start building the necessary facilities and creating a unit for the fighters.

The defense ministry plans to conduct exercises involving the new jets and the Kaga helicopter carrier, which is being converted into an aircraft carrier.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more