Japan Upgrading Five Airports and Eleven Ports for Defense Purposes

Upgrades Being Made 

Japanese officials have announced the plan to upgrade five airports and eleven ports, allowing the nation’s defense force and coast guard to use them for any military emergencies on Wednesday, March 27th.

The Japanese government will likely approve the plan in an upcoming meeting between finance ministers, with the project starting next fiscal year in April. 230 million USD (35 billion Yen) will be set aside for the project during the first year. This project is likely a part of Japan’s National Security Strategy in 2022.

Naha Airport train station in Okinawa prefecture.
Source: (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda

Airports will house fighters with other essential military aircraft, and ports will accommodate larger ships like destroyers or cruisers.

The upgraded infrastructure will be used for military exercises. 

Areas in Question 

The five airports mentioned reside within Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Okinawa, and Miyazaki prefectures. Five of the eleven ports are in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido, four more are in Kochi and Kagawa prefectures in the western island of Shikoku, and the last two are on Okinawa and Fukuoka prefectures. 

Analysis 

Amid rising tensions between countries within the Indo-Pacific region, Japan faces a slew of security difficulties and threats to its waters and land. The upgrading of public infrastructure will prove to be helpful to the Japanese Self-Defense Force, cutting down on response time if any conflict were to break out. Invasions would also prove more difficult.   

Another advantage would be faster response times if Japan were to be struck by rocket or missile attacks. Military personnel could evacuate civilians faster and administer first aid in greater numbers. 

Some of the prefectures mentioned already have a U.S. military presence, such as Okinawa. Either nation’s armed forces could also make use of the complexes.  

There are some non-defense-related benefits behind this. Government facilities would aid disaster relief in the event of tsunamis or earthquakes, the latter of which are a problem in Japan.  

Beefing up the southern islands is also a good measure against any conflict from China. 

Evan Berridge
Evan Berridge
Aspiring writer and analyst of mostly Indo-Pacific affairs, began in January 2024.

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