Japan to deploy 8 U.S. drones in Kagoshima Pref. from July

Reuters file photo
A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone sits in a hanger at Amari Air Base, Estonia, in July 2020.

KAGOSHIMA (Jiji Press) — The Defense Ministry has conveyed to local governments its plan to temporarily deploy eight MQ-9 reconnaissance drones of the U.S. military in Kagoshima Prefecture from July.

The unmanned aerial vehicles will be deployed at the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s air base in the city of Kanoya for about a year. About 150 to 200 U.S. military personnel will be stationed for maintenance and other related work.

On Monday, defense officials including Parliamentary Vice Minister Tsuyohito Iwamoto visited Kanoya Mayor Shigeru Nakanishi and Kagoshima Governor Koichi Shiota at their offices to brief them on the drone deployment plan.

Bearing in mind the increasingly severe situation in the East China Sea, Shiota asked whether the deployment may continue more than one year.

A ministry official replied that there is no plan to extend the deployment.

Neither of the two local governments said whether they support the deployment.