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Japan to allow ground forces across nation to deploy near Okinawa

Tokyo seeks flexibility as concern over potential Taiwan crisis spurs SDF overhaul

Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conduct a drill on Miyako Island in Okinawa prefecture. Japan is upgrading remote island defenses to prepare for a potential Taiwan crisis.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will reorganize the Ground Self-Defense Force so it can deploy all units nationwide to protect the southwestern Nansei Islands, looking to bolster the country's defenses amid growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

The new Defense Buildup Program, one of three key Japanese defense documents updated in December, calls for converting all GSDF regional deployment units based outside Okinawa into rapid deployment units. The GSDF has a total of 15 divisions and brigades based across the country.

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