10.5 billion yen-facilities completed for U.S. Marines in mainland Japan

In advance of the reported redeployment of the Okinawa-based U.S. Marine Corps artillery regiment to Hokkaido, the construction of facilities for their live-shell drills has already been finished at a cost of 10.5 billion yen at three Ground Self-Defense Force training grounds in mainland Japan, including the one in Hokkaido.

Akahata on June 8 reported this based on materials obtained from the Defense Facilities Administration Agency through the free access to information law.

According to the paper, facilities such as firing ranges, munitions depots, barracks, dining rooms, and shower rooms have been established at the JGSDF exercises fields at Yausubetsu in Hokkaido, Ojojihara in Miyagi, and Hijudai in Oita prefecture, costing about 3.5 billion yen each.

Their construction started in 1997, when the U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Division 12th Regiment (artillery) in Okinawa began live-shell firing drills at five GSDF training sites in mainland Japan.

Akahata stated that under the worldwide transformation of the U.S. forces, the Bush administration is attaching a specific role to allied powers by establishing a new partnership. This policy requires the U.S. forces and allied forces to jointly train, deploy, and live at the same bases, according to Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson, commander of US Marine Forces in the Pacific.

The construction of live-shell firing facilities at three Japanese training sites means another step toward integrating the USMC and the JGSDF by jointly using bases and facilities, Akahata warned. (end)

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