Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force expands Okinawa-based troop unit

21:05, March 26, 2010      

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Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) held a ceremony on Friday in Okinawa to mark the upgrading of a troop unit, said reports from the Japanese island in the west Pacific Ocean.

The GSDF's 1st combined brigade, which is based in Naha, the capital of Okinawa prefecture, has been upgraded to the 15th brigade with 2,100 troops, up from 1,800 troops, according to the reports.

The 15th brigade has increased the number of its patrol troops and is charged with patrolling Japan's southwestern waters and monitoring its borders.

Additionally, the new brigade has a dedicated unit on hand to deal with eventualities occurring from nuclear, biological or chemical attacks.

The brigade's infantry regiment will be provided with armored vehicles and artillery to be used in the event of attack.

Despite the intermittent upgrading of its troop units, Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force and de facto military in general has very limited capabilities to operate overseas under Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, and lacks long range offensive capabilities such as long-range surface-to-surface missiles, aerial refueling, marines, amphibious units, and large caches of ammunition.

Source: Xinhua
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