Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force moves vehicles to new camp on Ishigaki Island

Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force has started transferring vehicles, including those used for launching missiles, to a new camp on the southwestern island of Ishigaki.

The Defense Ministry plans to open the GSDF's first camp on the island in Okinawa Prefecture on March 16.

Light armored vehicles and other types had been unloaded at Ishigaki Port from late last month.

They started leaving the port for the camp on Sunday morning.

Police officers moved members of a residents' group who had blocked the port's entrance to protest the deployment of the Self-Defense Forces.

The vehicles did not pass through the central part of the island.

More than 100 vehicles are believed to have entered the facility on Sunday.

Missiles and other ammunition were not seen entering the site.

The GSDF plans to station about 570 personnel, including missile unit members, and deploy about 200 vehicles at the new camp.

The GSDF says it is setting up the Ishigaki camp to strengthen the defense of Japan's southwestern islands. It already has camps on the islands of Yonaguni and Miyako for the same purpose.