This Monday, the Ground Japan Self-Defense Force (GSDF) switched on a permanent new radar station in Yonaguni Island, part of Okinawa Prefecture in the East China Sea. Yonaguni is located 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of Taiwan, The Japan Times reports.

“Establishing a stable defense setup in the area of the Nansei Islands represents our country’s commitment to defense,” GSDF Lieutenant General Kiyoshi Ogawa said during a ceremony on Yonaguni Island.

According to GSDF Lieutenant Colonel Daigo Shiomitsu, the commander of the unit now permanently based on Yonaguni, “Until yesterday, there was no coastal observation unit west of the main Okinawa island. It was a vacuum we needed to fill. We are required to quickly react to various situations. We hope to deal with them appropriately.” Around 160 GSDF personnel will be stationed on Japan’s westernmost inhabited island, which is home to about 1,500 civilians.

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Image courtesy of KYODO