Japan Ground Self-Defense Force opens new camp on Okinawa's Ishigaki Island

Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force has opened a new camp on Okinawa's Ishigaki Island to strengthen the defense of the country's southwestern islands.

Camp Ishigaki is located in the central part of the island.
The camp's name was unveiled at the main gate and the Japanese flag raised in the camp early Thursday morning.

About 570 personnel and 200 vehicles are stationed at the camp. The Ground Self-Defense Force also has camps on the islands of Yonaguni and Miyako in Okinawa Prefecture.

Senior GSDF officials visited the Ishigaki City Hall on Thursday and reported the camp's opening to Mayor Nakayama Yoshitaka.

Nakayama asked them to maintain harmony with local residents and make sure the camp is properly operated.

Camp Ishigaki's newly appointed commander, Colonel Inoue Yuichiro, told reporters the SDF personnel will train as one, with the firm determination to protect the island and its people.

Residents who oppose the deployment protested outside the camp.

Japan's Defense Ministry is scheduled to hold a briefing for residents next Wednesday.