ua en ru

Japan plans to modernize civilian airports for use by military aircraft

Japan plans to modernize civilian airports for use by military aircraft Japan plans to modernize civilian airports for use by military aircraft (photo: Getty Images)

Japan plans to modernize five airports and 11 seaports in the near future, equipping them for use by the country's defense forces and coast guard in case of military emergencies, according to Kyodo.

It is expected that the plan will be approved soon at a meeting of ministers, paving the way for the project's implementation in the next fiscal year, which begins in April. An initial budget of $230 million is planned for this initiative.

Certain airports are expected to have longer runways and aprons built for fighters and transport aircraft. In the ports, docks capable of accommodating destroyers, frigates, and other large combat ships are planned.

The Japanese government stipulated in its National Security Strategy endorsed in 2022 the need to enhance the functions of public infrastructure, such as airports and seaports so that the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard can better respond to the protection of its nationals and deployment during contingencies.

It is noted that the modernization of these facilities could benefit residents by allowing them to be used for commercial logistics and tourism. However, there are concerns that in emergencies, the modernized ports and airfields could become targets for armed attacks.

The five designated airports are located in four prefectures - Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Miyazaki, as well as Okinawa. Of the 11 ports, five are in the northern main island of Hokkaido, home to many SDF units, four are in Kagawa and Kochi prefectures in the western main island of Shikoku, and one each in Fukuoka and Okinawa prefectures.

Earlier, it was reported that US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will present a plan next month to restructure the US military command in Japan amid growing concerns about China.

Politico also reported, citing sources, that Japan intends to join the so-called second paragraph of the trilateral Pacific defense partnership between the UK, US, and Australia (AUKUS), under which participants will sign a wide-ranging military technology cooperation by the end of 2024 or early 2025.