This is great news for those wondering how the Type-90 tank will factor into the new National Defense Program Outline given the restrictions in plae that stop it from being transported by road outside Hokkaido – from Yomiuri’s Kyushu Hatsu (translated for your convenience):

Two Type-90s firing their cannons beside a Type-74

Two Type-90s firing their cannons beside a Type-74

GSDF Mechanized Units from Hokkaido To Hijudai by JR and Ferry

The Ministry of Defense announced that on November 10th, the largest ever live fire exercise and simulation training will take place in Hijudai Maneuvering Grounds in Oita Prefecture, with a scenario based around the protection of islands and key institutions. Hokkaido-based mechanized units will take part for the first time, sending tanks and armored vehicles over a long distance by private ferry and Japan Rail freight trains. The aim is to realize the dynamic defense concept from the new National Defense Program Outline released at the end of last year, emphasizing Okinawa and the other southwestern islands.

Taking part in the training is the 7th Division, a mainstay of anti-Soviet deterrence during the Cold War. Four Type-90 tanks, ten Type-89 armored combat vehicles, and ten Type-73 armored vehicles will be sent from Hokkaido, a total of 120 vehicles and 410 personnel leaving Chitose in Hokkaido for Hijudai Maneuvering Grounds for the exercise which continues until the 22nd. They will be training with units from Kyushu.

The Type-90 tank was developed for use against a Soviet Union invasion, but is only deployed in Hokkaido. Intended for fighting in the wilderness, it is a massive 50-metric tons and 9.8 meters in length. Along with the Type-89, it will be sent from Tomakomai Port in Hokkaido to Oita Port in Oita by civilian ferry from November 8th.

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
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