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Thursday, November 26, 2015, 15:30

Japan plans to deploy troops on Diaoyu islands

By Agencies

TOKYO — Japan's deputy defense minister has met with the mayor of a southern island to seek his support for a planned deployment of hundreds of troops to bolster defense in the region including nearby East China Sea islands.

Officials say Vice Minister of Defense Kenji Wakamiya was in Ishigaki on Thursday to explain to mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama a plan to deploy about 500 ground troops on the island beginning in 2019. The troops would belong to units for emergency response in case of "infiltration on nearby islands or for missile defense."

Japan regards China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea as a part of the city of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture. China has always maintained its position on the Diaoyus issue, saying China will resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and maritime interests.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's hawkish government enacted a set of security laws in September despite widespread opposition from the public who say the move violates Japan's war-renouncing constitution.

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