Tokyo [Japan], July 17 (ANI): Japan will deploy F-35B stealth fighter jets in southwestern Miyazaki Prefecture as part of bolstering defences around the Nansei Islands.
Six F-35Bs will be stationed at the Air SDF's Nyutabaru Air Base in fiscal 2024, with two more to be added in fiscal 2025, Nikkei Asia reported.
The decision, which was announced by Japanese defence Minister Nobuo Kishi on Friday, comes as tensions escalate near the Senakaku Islands due to increased military activity by China.
Senkaku Islands are part of the Nansei chain and are claimed by Beijing.
The Japanese Defense Ministry briefed local authorities of the plan on Thursday. "It is extremely important to have the support of the local community," Kishi said.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.
Recently, tensions between China and Japan have escalated amid increased activity by Beijing in the disputed East China Sea.
Earlier this year, Beijing implemented a new law that allows the country's quasi-military coast guard to use weapons against foreign ships that China sees as illegally entering its waters.
Japan has reported over 20 intrusions by Chinese ships in the waters around the island chain in 2021 so far. (ANI)