The Japan Ministry of Defense (Boei-sho) has included the cost of acquiring 180,000 square meters of land necessary for deploying an air defense missile system to the Yonaguni base of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) in the budget plan for fiscal 2023. As a result of increased tensions between Japan, China, and Taiwan over the disputed sovereignty of the Japanese-controlled uninhabited Senkaku/Diaoyu/Tiaoyutai Islands which are located roughly 80 nautical miles north-northeast of Yonaguni Island, Japan began construction in 2014 of a coastal monitoring/early warning station with radar and other sensors on Yonaguni to counter a perceived threat from Chinese forces.
In fiscal 2023, an electronic warfare unit will be newly established, and the number of personnel stationed at the Yonaguni base will increase from around 170 at the end of this fiscal year to around 210. The electronic warfare unit is planned to be formed by transferring about 20 people from the 101st Electronic Warfare Unit at Camp Ainoura (Nagasaki Prefecture) and about 30 soldiers from the 301st Electronic Warfare Unit at Camp Kengun (Kumamoto Prefecture). In connection with the establishment of the electronic warfare unit, approximately $28 million has been allocated for the construction of barracks for the unit’s personnel to live and work in.
The Japan Ministry of Defense sees the electromagnetic spectrum, outer space and cyberspace as crucial in maintaining the military balance among nations and in boosting the country’s defense capabilities. The JGSDF established an Electronic Operations Unit on 17 March, with its headquarters located at Camp Asaka in Tokyo, to supervise EW units nationwide. Japan’s attempt to raise its EW capabilities comes at a time when Russia has demonstrated its EW prowess in Crimea and subsequent Syrian operations, knocking out adversary command and control, radar and GPS systems, and paralyzing drones.
Since last year, the ministry has established electronic warfare units in garrisons across Japan, but predominantly in Okinawa and the southwestern region of Kyushu. The 101st and 301st Electronic Warfare Units is equipped with vehicles mounted with a vehicle-mounted Network Electronic Warfare System (NEWS), developed by the defense ministry from fiscal 2010 to 2016. The NEWS detects electromagnetic communication frequencies of aircraft and vessels around Japan during peacetime and is capable of detecting and jamming “enemy missiles, drones and other battlefield assets” during a conflict. It will also be responsible for disrupting enemy communications and radar if called upon