Military Capabilities

Japan to buy uninhabited island for US carrier-borne aircraft drills

02 December 2019

The Japanese government announced on 2 December that it has agreed to buy Mage Island, an uninhabited island located about 40 km south of Kyushu – the southwesternmost of Japan’s main islands –, as a training site for US carrier-based aircraft as well as the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF).

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said during a press conference that Tokyo has reached an agreement in principle to buy the 8-square-kilometre island from a private company at a cost of about JPY16 billion (USD146 million), mainly to enable field carrier landing practice (FCLP) for the US Navy (USN).

“The acquisition of Mage Island is vitally important to maintaining and strengthening the deterrence of the US-Japanese alliance and to build up our nation’s defence capabilities,” said Suga, pointing out that FCLP is essential for the USN to perform its activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

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