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US Mulls Major Overhaul of Military Command in Japan: Report

The US is considering revamping its military command structure in Japan in light of increasing threats in the Indo-Pacific.

The overhaul aims to strengthen operational planning and help the allies improve their joint response capabilities against growing Chinese aggression.

Among the changes being discussed is the appointment of a four-star commander – the highest peacetime rank in the US military – to oversee American forces in Japan.

Washington is also considering the creation of a new, Tokyo-based military joint task force that would support the operations of the US Pacific Fleet.

“Discussions are underway between Japan and the US regarding the strengthening of cooperation guidelines for command and control in order to enhance interoperability and response readiness,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said.

More details are expected regarding the restructure when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits the White House next month.

Around 54,000 US military personnel are based in Japan.

Increased Cooperation

Tokyo and Washington have increased defense ties to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan and a possible escalation of conflict in the Indo-Pacific.

Beijing views the island nation as a renegade province and has not ruled out using force to reunite it with mainland China.

In the event of a conflict, Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture is likely to be targeted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) because it hosts US forces that could assist Taipei.

The US and Japan have recently conducted large-scale military exercises, including in February when it directly tagged China as the hypothetical enemy for the first time.

Tokyo also announced last year that it was considering accepting a US plan to deploy intermediate-range missiles on its territory to counter Beijing.

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