Special to WorldTribune.com
Japan on March 28 switched on a new radar station near disputed islands in the East China Sea that drew an instant rebuke from China.
The new Japan Self-Defense Forces base is on the island of Yonaguni, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the disputed islands known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.
“Until yesterday, there was no coastal observation unit west of the main Okinawa island. It was a vacuum we needed to fill,” said Daigo Shiomitsu, commander of the new base. “It means we can keep watch on territory surrounding Japan and respond to all situations.”
The small island (11-square-miles) is home to 1,500 people who mostly raise cattle and grow sugar cane. The Japanese military contingent and their families will increase the population by a fifth.
“This radar station is going to irritate China,” said Nozomu Yoshitomi, a professor at Nihon University and a retired major general in the Self-Defense Force.
China’s defense ministry, in a statement sent to Reuters about the radar station, said the “Diaoyu Islands are China’s inherent territory. We are resolutely opposed to any provocative behavior by Japan aimed at Chinese territory.”