Faced with growing security concerns in East Asia, and looking at potential military use of civilian infrastructure, the Japanese government has selected 33 airports and ports in 10 prefectures as candidates for expansion, Nikkei has learned, Report informs.
The government will shortly begin discussions with prefectures and municipalities that manage the facilities to extend runways and expand docks, enabling the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the Japan Coast Guard to evacuate citizens or deploy troops in an emergency.
The national security strategy revised at the end of last year included a plan to upgrade airports and ports in preparation for contingencies. The government will designate certain facilities as essential bases and allocate the necessary funds for upgrades in its fiscal 2024 budget proposal.
The government has selected 14 airports and 19 ports, according to an unofficial document drafted in August and seen by Nikkei. At least 16 facilities are located in the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa in southern Japan, and on the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku in the western part of the country.
The list of airports includes Yonaguni, New Ishigaki, Miyako, and Naha in Okinawa prefecture, as well as Kagoshima and Miyazaki in Kyushu, and Kochi in Shikoku.