GSDF transfers apparent missiles to Miyakojima

Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force has transferred what are believed to be missiles to a newly-built ammunition depot on an island in Okinawa Prefecture amid protests by local residents.

More than 10 vehicles carrying what are believed to be surface-to-ship missiles were offloaded from a vessel at a port in Miyakojima Island on Sunday.

About 20 protesters gathered at the port to try to prevent the vehicles from leaving, but police forcibly evicted them.

The vehicles then arrived at the ammunition depot of the Ground Self-Defense Force and unloaded their cargo. More than 30 people shouted protests.

A local resident says he is very worried about a possible explosion as the depot is close to a residential area. He added that he is concerned about the future of the island.

Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force has been deploying missile units on the country's southwestern islands, including Miyako and Ishigaki. It says this is part of efforts to strengthen defense capability amid China's increasing maritime activities in the region.

A unit with about 200 personnel was deployed on Miyako Island last year. A new ammunition depot went into operation in April.