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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 3 - 9  > Unification of Japanese and US command centers promoted under Abe’s intent to change Japan into war-fighting nation
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2019 April 3 - 9 [SDF]

Unification of Japanese and US command centers promoted under Abe’s intent to change Japan into war-fighting nation

April 3, 2019

The headquarter level collaboration between the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. military has been strengthened at U.S. Army Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture. This represents a concrete step in the Prime Minister Abe-led government’s attempt to turn Japan into a nation fighting U.S. wars abroad.

As part of the Abe government’s GSDF realignment policy, the GSDF Central Readiness Group whose headquarter was located at U.S. Camp Zama was incorporated into the Ground Component Command in March 2018. While the Central Readiness Group headquarters only controlled GSDF overseas missions, the newly launched organization will command GSDF units in missions inside and outside Japan in an integrated manner.

In accordance with the GSDF realignment, the Ground Component Command’s Japan-U.S. Joint Operation unit is headquartered at the same location as the U.S. Army First Corps Forward headquarters and the U.S. Marine Corps liaison office in Camp Zama.

The U.S. Army First Corps Forward headquarters was established at the base in December 2007 and in March 2016 began carrying out the function as a command center in military operations performed mainly by the U.S. military or by U.S.-led multinational forces in the Indo-Pacific region. The U.S. Army forward-deployed operation center has been increasing its influence and strengthening its relations with allies through various measures such as trilateral military drills with Japan and South Korea and joint military exercises with southeast Asian nations.

The U.S. Army in the autumn of 2015 started implementing its plan to realign command centers with the aim of responding to emergencies abroad and carrying out military operations. Under the realignment plan, small-scale and mobile command centers will be set up at the front. Functions of the First Corps (Forward) headquarters have been enhanced in line with this plan.

Coexistence of the GSDF command center with the U.S. Army First Corps detachment at Camp Zama is tantamount to creating a framework under which GSDF troops will be mobilized in a U.S. military operations as soon as they commence.
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