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US Forces, Japan (USFJ)

Established 1 July 1957, U.S. Forces, Japan, with its U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps elements, consists of approximately 47,000 military personnel, 52,000 dependents, 5,500 DOD civilian employees and 23,500 Japanese workers. U.S. Forces are stationed in Japan pursuant to the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security of 1960.

Under Article V of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, U.S. Forces, Japan's area of responsibility is the land areas of the Japanese archipelago and the adjoining sea areas out to 12 nautical miles. Under Article VI, the U.S. is given use of facilities in Japan for maintaining regional security.

U.S. Forces are dispersed among 91 facilities located on Honshu, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Total acreage of U.S. bases is approximately 78,000 acres. The annual cost of stationing U.S. Forces in Japan in 1995 was approximately $7.6B. Of this amount, the Government of Japan paid $4.25B of the cost.

Headquarters, U.S. Forces, Japan is located at Yokota Air Base, about 25 miles west of Tokyo. Approximately, 120 military personnel and 50 DOD civilians comprise COMUSJAPAN's joint staff which administers unilateral and bilateral defense issues. HQ USFJ focuses on war planning, conduct of joint/bilateral exercises and studies, administering the Status of Forces Agreement, improving combat readiness, and enhancing the quality of life of military and DOD civilian personnel and their dependents.

One of the most significant events in HQ, USFJ history took place on 19 January 1960. Christian A. Herter and Douglas MacArthur II signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security for the United States. This treaty, with its related diplomatic notes and implementing arrangements, authorized the U.S. military presence in Japan. Of singular importance to USFJ was the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on that same day. The U.S.- Japan Joint Committee established under the prior Administrative agreement was continued as the means for inter-governmental consultations on general matters regarding implementation of the SOFA and on U.S. facilities.

The mission of the Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan, stems directly from the treaty and the resulting presence of U.S. Forces here. He is responsible for developing plans for the defense of Japan and must be prepared , if contingencies arise, to assume operational control of assigned and attached U.S. Forces for the execution of those plans. His peacetime responsibilities include representing the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, in relations among U.S. Forces and other Department of Defense elements, the Ambassador, the Japan Defense Agency, and other agencies of the Government of Japan.

The USFJ insignia was approved by the Institute of Heraldry in May 1977. This insignia portrays the close professional working relationship between USFJ and the Self Defense Forces. Japan has implemented a series of "Defense Buildup Plans" since fiscal year 1958 which coincide with USFJ's longevity. The 1960s were a time of turmoil for USFJ, with the return of many of the bases and facilities held since the end of the war, the intense activities at depots and bases in support of American forces deployed in Southeast Asia, and anti-war and anti-base demonstrations among some elements of the Japanese public.

A major change in USFJ responsibilities occurred with the reversion of Okinawa under the Status of Forces Agreement - a major expansion of USFJ activities. Military-related problems formerly handled by the High Commissioner, Ryukyu Islands became the responsibility of USFJ. An Okinawa Area Field Office was established to represent USFJ interests there.

In 1976 the Subcommittee for Defense Cooperation was established. This subcommittee, consisting of military and civilian members of both countries, permits consultation concerning mutual defense issues.

Return of U.S. facilities and areas, as well as joint usage, continued during the 1970s, especially on the main islands. The Fifth Air Force transferred its tactical aircraft from the main islands and consolidated other activities in the Kanto Plain area. Support and military housing areas were closed. Army depots were reduced or closed.

Besides reduction in facilities, there has been a decrease in the number of Japanese Nationals employed by USFJ. On 1 July 1957, USFJ was one of the largest employers in Japan with a main island workforce of 152,000. Overall labor costs were low - an average annual payroll cost of $1,181 per employee. Today the Japanese national workforce is about 22,600 with an average annual payroll of over $56,000 per appropriated employee.

During the final four months of 1974, the headquarters of USFJ was relocated from Fuchu Air Station to Yokota Air Base.

A real milestone in U.S. and Japan military relations came in November 1978, when both governments approved a document known as the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. This document formed the basis for definitive and comprehensive military planning and other activities between U.S. Forces and Japan Self Defense Forces. The three key elements of the Guidelines are: guidance and direction for planning to meet other contingencies in the Far East that would affect Japan's security; and provisions for studies and analyses to be performed in several areas related to and supportive of the two main efforts.

Another milestone is the New Special Measures Agreement, signed by the GOJ in January 1991. This agreement, combined with previously-agreed-to Labor Cost Sharing (LCS) agreements and a generous Facilities Improvement Program (FIP), clearly established Japan as our most generous ally in Host Nation Support. Japan pays yen-based labor expenses (Appropriated and non-appropriated) and a portion of utility costs (fuel, electricity, sewage, and water). Total GOJ contributions to U.S. stationing costs were $ 4.25 billion annually for FY 1995.

U.S. military strength in Japan is about 47,000 ashore and 12,000 afloat. Currently, USFJ headquarters' strength is 120 officers and 50 DOD civilian employees. USFJ bases and facilities range in size from a several thousand acre training area to a single antenna site. Most are properly classified as facilities. Under the Kanto Plain Consolidation Plan, outlying air stations, detachments and operating locations were moved to Yokota Air Base.

In November 1995 a Special Action Committee on Okinawa was established by the U.S. and GOJ to reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa and thereby strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance. In the December 1996 SACO Final Report, the U.S. and Japan agreed on terms to return approximately 21 percent (12,000 acres) of all land used by U.S. bases on Okinawa. This represents the largest amount of land returned to Japan since the reversion of Okinawa in 1972. The Final report spells out the time table for the return of land: six areas will be returned within five years; two within seven years, and two by the year 2008.

In September 1997, new Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation were issued. The revised Defense Guidelines are designed to provide the foundation for more effective bilateral defense coordination and will improve peacekeeping operations, humanitarian relief operations, rear area support to U.S. forces, and intelligence sharing activities.

In October 2014 US and Japanese officials laid out guidelines for significantly expanded security coordination between the two nations, in order to better respond to what one senior state department official described as "the modern threat environment." The guidelines lay out additional areas of cooperation between the United States and Japan, including in space and cyberspace. It includes increased information and intelligence sharing, peacekeeping operations, international humanitarian assistance, logistics support and civilian evacuation operations. The last time the United States and Japan revised their defense guidelines was in 1997.

The United States government said in November 2014 that US troops based in Japan would automatically be deployed to the Korean peninsula in the event of a contingency without prior consultations with Tokyo. Citing a statement released by the State Department, Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported that Washington was prepared to carry out all obligations under its bilateral security treaty and joint operational plans with South Korea. The statement contradicted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's remarks at a parliamentary session in July 2014 where he said US Forces Japan must seek Tokyo's understanding before sending marines to the Korean peninsula.

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Page last modified: 25-12-2014 20:25:22 ZULU