Defense Minister Minoru Kihara Attends Ceremony to Launch 3rd Island Defense Regiment; Emphasizes Importance of Strengthening Defense

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, left, hands over the flag of the 3rd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment at a ceremony to launch the regiment at the GSDF’s Camp Takematsu in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, on Sunday.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara on Sunday attended a ceremony to launch the 3rd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment at the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Camp Takematsu in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture.

“Island defense is directly related to the nation’s existence,” Kihara said, with China’s increasing maritime expansion in mind. “We must clarify our intention and ability not to allow unilateral changes to the status quo by force.”

The regiment has about 600 personnel. Together with the 1st and 2nd regiments based at Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, the three amphibious rapid deployment regiments responsible for island recapture operations have a total of about 3,000 personnel. Kihara emphasized the importance of the reinforcement, saying, “This will further strengthen our deterrence and response capabilities.”

The Defense Ministry plans to accelerate the strengthening of the defense of the Kyushu-Okinawa region, including the islands, by upgrading the GSDF 15th “Brigade” on the main island of Okinawa to a “Division” and deploying a surface-to-ship guided missile unit at the GSDF’s Camp Yufuin in Yufu, Oita Prefecture.