TOKYO , May 19 (UPI) -- The Japanese government is considering military encampments on the country's southernmost island to reinforce its defense amid a dispute over territory with China.
The camps will be established on Amami Oshima, Miyakogima and Ishigakijima islands, each near Nansei Islands and the Senkakus, where China recently increased the number of government ships in Japanese territorial waters, the Tokyo newspaper Yomiyuri Shinbun reported Monday.
The Defense Ministry referred to the islands as "a core of defense of the Nansei Islands." Other than Okinawa island, no Japanese Ground Self-defense Forces are stationed in the area.
The encampments are mentioned in a five-year defense plan that includes doubling the number of F-15 fighter planes, and a coastal monitoring team of 150, in the area.
The Nansei Islands are part of what China calls a "first island chain." Its military strategy includes stopping enemy planes at a "second island chain" of Chinese islands closer to the Chinese mainland. The proposed buildup near the first island chain, an unidentified senior U.S. Defense Department official said, is "also aimed at strengthening the Japan-U.S. security system."