Japan plans to build more ammunition depots at Self-Defense Forces facilities from fiscal 2024 to store long-range missiles as it is set to acquire enemy base strike capabilities, sources close to the matter said Monday.
The plan comes as a part of Japan's efforts to increase 130 such depots by fiscal 2032 from roughly 1,400 at present, following its decision in December to acquire the strike capabilities to deter attacks, in a major shift in the pacifist country's security policy amid mounting regional military threats.
The depots planned at nine Ground Self-Defense Force facilities across prefectures of Hokkaido, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa come on top of four depots that are already being constructed from earlier this fiscal year at SDF facilities in Aomori and Oita prefectures.
The Defense Ministry has requested 12.4 billion yen ($84 million) to build the depots under the fiscal 2024 state budget, which will be drafted in December. The new fiscal year starts in April.
With the funds, it would start surveys to build depots at six facilities in Hokkaido, design two depots to be constructed at a base in Miyazaki and five at a training ground in Okinawa, and acquire land to construct three depots at a base in Kagoshima.
Although the depots could become targets in the event of a crisis situation, the Defense Ministry is expected not to disclose the types and the volume of ammunition the depots would store, the sources said, which could raise safety concerns among the local residents.
Japan is scheduled to deploy the long-range missiles with enemy strike capabilities from fiscal 2026 but has yet to decide on where they will be located.