United States Government Wants to Send Missile-Armed Marine Units to Okinawa Islands
The United States government wants to start deploying Marine units across Japan’s Okinawa islands by 2026, according to a report published by Reuters on January 10, 2023. These marine units will be armed with missiles and lighter equipment to deter China’s military.
US authorities have already informed Japan about this shift of military assets. In effect, there has been a creation of new units, called Marine Littoral Regiments, which constitutes part of a major restructuring of the US Marine Corps that Commandant David Berger outlined in 2020 in his Force Design 2030 paper.
When he published this paper, Berger informed Reuters that his aim was to have those units work closely with Japan’s Self Defense Forces to impede China’s ability to project power into the Pacific.
When he was asked about the potential deployment of new American Marine units, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news briefing on January 10 that bilateral military cooperation between Japan and the US “should not harm the interests of third parties and regional peace and stability.”
Under the littoral regiment model, the Marines are slashing aircraft numbers, and discarding the bulk of their cannon artillery and heavy armor. Instead, they will rely on smaller “dispersed” forces armed with missiles and drones that can operate in conflict zones.
18,000 US Marines are stationed in Japan, which is the biggest concentration outside of the United States. Most of them are stationed in bases on the main Okinawan island. As Reuters reported, this island forms part of an island chain that “stretches along the edge of the East China Sea to within about 100 km (62 miles) of Taiwan.”
The US’s military presence in Okinawa has sparked local tensions. Okinawa’s government has called on other regions of Japan to host these military forces.
While China’s rise should worry Japan and other Asian actors in China’s vicinity, this is a matter for Asian countries to handle — not the US. For one, Japan is a rich country — at one point was a great power — that is more than capable of defending itself by using its own human resources. Heck, it has the human capital to potentially re-militarize and go nuclear if the China threat actually becomes deadly.
Regardless, the US should not get involved in these types of tensions, which will only lead to unwarranted suffering that will likely result in Japan becoming a sacrificial lamb for the US Deep State as it tries to bleed out China in a future conflict.