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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8  > U.S. Army Corps establishes forward HQ at Zama
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2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8 [US FORCES]

U.S. Army Corps establishes forward HQ at Zama

December 20, 2007
Amid local residents’ protests, the U.S. Army on December 19 officially established at U.S. Army Camp Zama (Kanagawa Pref.) the forward headquarters of the First Army Corps based in Fort Lewis, Washington State, as a major step in implementing the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan in pursuit of increasing U.S. preemptive strike capabilities.

The establishment of the forward headquarters has caused serious concern among local governments and residents in the area surrounding the base that it would lead to the perpetuation of the base. No local government head attended the ceremony commemorating the establishment of the headquarters held on the same day at Camp Zama.

First Army Corps Commander Charles Jacoby in his speech said, “I know we are not welcome.”

By establishing the forward headquarters in Zama, the U.S. forces intends to speed up the deployment of the First Army Corps which is tasked with rapid deployment to the Asia and Pacific region, including Afghanistan.

The Corps formed a 30-personnel transition team last August, and about 20 personnel have moved from the corps headquarters to Zama. However, how big the forward headquarters will eventually has not yet been made public.

“The First Army Corps has conducted frequent exercises with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. The two sides will now work together on a routine basis,” Jacoby said and stressed the importance of further strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Commenting on the establishment of the forward headquarters, Zama City Mayor Hoshino Katsuji said that it is regrettable that the ceremony has taken place despite the fact that the city has repeatedly requested the national government to not carry out the realignment plan before it proposes measures to prevent the perpetuation of the base.

Kanagawa Governor Matsuzawa Shigefumi also expressed his regret and said that he will request the national government to hold consultations with local municipalities regarding the base issues, including measures to prevent the perpetuation of the base which Zama City is calling for.

In front of the Camp Zama gate, about 70 people shouted, “No to strengthening of the base functions!” Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives election candidates and assembly members in Zama and Sagamihara cities also took part in the action.

Military policemen with military dogs were patrolling on the base and sometimes threatened protesters by aiming their rifles at them.
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