Japan Militarizes Farthest Out Island As Part Of Anti-China Buildup
April 19, 2014 • 2:59PM

Japan and the United States last October agreed to jointly strengthened "defenses" against China in Japan's southwest quadrant, most opposite China.

There were three components to the Japanese implementation of the plans; the installation of an X-band long range (2,200 to 3,750 miles) radar in the city of Kyotango, Kyoto prefecture; the establishment of a "listening post" on the island of Iwo Jima, which will cover the X-band radar's blind spot; and the fortification of the small island of Yonaguni, at the end of the Japanese island chain, some 70 miles from Taiwan and almost within sight of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was on hand Saturday to break ground for the Yonaguni base. It will consist of a shorter range military radar base and some 100 Japanese Self Defense Force soldiers. They will guard the 1,500 inhabitants, who heretofore were protected by two police officers.

The new base "should give Japan the ability to expand surveillance to near the Chinese mainland," said Heigo Sato, a professor at Takushoku University and a former researcher at the defense ministry's National Institute for Defense Studies. "It will allow early warning of missiles and supplement the monitoring of Chinese military movements," Sato said.

The timing of the ground-breaking, just four days before President Obama arrives in Japan, is not coincidental.

On April 6, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that the the US fleet of Aegis destroyers will be increased by two, for a total of seven. The Aegis destroyers have powerful long-range radar with massive target acquisition and tracking capacities, and are armed with the deceptively-named "Standard Missile 3." the US's currently most powerful and long range Anti-Missile Defense weapon.

Additionally, two massive surveillance RQ-4 Global Hawk drones, currently stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, will deploy to Misawa Air Base, Japan, from at least May to October of this year, along with about 40 personnel, according to Pacific Air Forces.