Welcome to Headquarters, U.S. Forces, Japan, (USFJ) and Yokota Air Base, Japan! Japan, the very word conjures up images of fans, kimonos, samurai and swords, cherry blossoms, and Mt Fuji. Such things are much a part of Japan; if you take full advantage of the wonderful adventure before you, you'll find there is much more to the "Land of the Rising Sun" than you ever dreamed. The springboard for your adventure will, of course, be your new home...Yokota Air Base. Whether you're active duty, a civilian government employee, or a family member, you're sure to find that the quality of life at Yokota is as good as anywhere else you have ever lived.
Yokota Air Base is located on the island of Honshu, Japan, on the Kanto Plain, 28 miles northwest of Tokyo, at the foot hills of the Okutama Mountains. The base lies within the political boundaries of six municipalities. These are Akishima, Fussa, Hamura, Mizuho, Musashi-Murayama, and Tachikawa.
The following provides a brief overview of USFJ, Yokota Air Base, and the local community. A joint assignment opportunity with USFJ is both challenging and rewarding.
HEADQUARTERS U.S. FORCES, JAPAN
Originally established at Fuchu Air Station on July 1, 1957, USFJ, with its U.S. Army, U.S Marine Corps, U.S Navy, and U.S Air Force elements, consists of approximately 54,000 military personnel, 42,000 dependents, 8,000 DoD civilian employees, and 25,000 Japanese workers. U.S. forces are stationed in Japan pursuant to the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security of 1960.
Headquarters U.S. Forces Japan is located at Yokota Air Base. Approximately 160 military, DoD civilians, and Japanese national employees comprise the Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan's, (COMUSJAPAN) joint staff. The joint staff 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 USFJ history took place on January 19, 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 implementation 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, on U.S. facilities.
COMUSJAPAN's mission stems directly from the treaty and the resulting presence of U.S. forces in Japan. The commander 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. The commander's peacetime responsibilities include representing the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, in relations among U.S. forces and other Department of Defense elements, the U.S. Ambassador, the Japan Ministry of Defense, and other Government of Japan agencies.
The USFJ insignia was approved by the Institute of Heraldry in May 1977. The insignia portrays the close professional working relationship between USFJ and the Japan 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 1972 reversion of Okinawa to the Japanese government, and some related changes to 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 U.S. Air Force's Fifth Air Force transferred its tactical aircraft from the main islands and consolidated other activities in the Kanto Plain area. Support and military housing facilities in many areas were closed. Army depots were reduced or closed.
Besides reduction in facilities, there was a decrease in the number of Japanese nationals employed by USFJ. On July 1, 1957, USFJ was one of the largest employers in Japan with a main island workforce of 152,000. Overall labor costs were low -- with an average annual payroll cost of $1,181 per employee. Today, the Japanese national workforce is about 25,000; 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 two 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 was the New Special Measures Agreement, signed by the Government of Japan in January 1991. This agreement, combined with previously-agreed-to Labor Cost Sharing agreements and a generous Facilities Improvement Program, clearly established Japan as our most generous ally in Host Nation Support. Japan pays most yen-based labor expenses (appropriated and non-appropriated funds) and a portion of utility costs (fuel, electricity, sewage, and water). The SMA was renewed in 2011.
U.S. military strength in Japan is about 38,000 ashore and 11,000 afloat, and U.S. forces are dispersed among 85 facilities located on Honshu, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Total acreage of U.S. bases is approximately 77,000 acres. USFJ bases and facilities range in size from a several thousand acre training area to a single antenna site.
The National Defense Program Outline, approved in 1995, delineates the basic concepts for Japan's security policy, and reaffirms the importance of the U.S.-Japan security relationship and includes efforts that should strengthen Japan's regional and global role with the United States.
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.
The U.S.-Japan alliance is essential to the free world posture in the Pacific. In the mutual security treaty, the United States and Japan acknowledge that they have a common stake in the security and peaceful progress of the Far East region. USFJ has made a positive contribution to the peace and security of the Far East and to the preservation of world peace.
On mainland Japan, there are seven different bases/posts. Yokota and Misawa, representing the Air Force; Camp Zama, representing the Army; Iwakuni; the Marine Corps; and Yokosuka, Atsugi, and Sasebo, the Navy. The closest of these is Camp Zama, which is approximately 20 miles from Yokota. The drive time, due to the traffic congestion in Japan, can be anywhere between one to two hours. The next largest facility on the island is Yokosuka, which is 70 kilometers away and can take two to three hours by car.
UNITED STATES ARMY JAPAN & I CORPS (FORWARD)
U.S. Army, Japan, consists of about 2,000 soldiers and is charged, during peacetime, with operating port facilities and a series of logistics installations throughout Honshu and Okinawa. USARJ participates actively with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force in bilateral training exercises and the development of bilateral plans. It commands and supports U.S. Army assigned units, attached units, and augmentation forces and employs these forces in support of the Commander. USARJ maintains and strengthens the credibility of deterrent power in the Pacific through maintenance of defense facilities, war reserves and operational project stocks. USARJ/9th TSC is headquartered at Camp Zama.
III MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
III MEF, which is under the operational command of Marine Forces Pacific, are garrisoned primarily on Okinawa and Southern Honshu. III MEF is headquartered at Camp Courtney, Okinawa.
MARINE CORPS INSTALLATIONS COMMAND - PACIFIC
Marine Corps Installations Pacific provides oversight of Marine Corps installations in Hawaii, Japan and the Republic of Korea. MCIPACs primary mission is to implement policies, develop regional strategies and plans, prioritize resources and provide services, direction, and oversight to all assigned U.S. Marine Corps installations in order to support the operating forces, tenant commands and activities. Specifically in Japan, MCIPAC consists of two air stations and 10 camps/housing areas throughout Okinawa and mainland Japan. Headquarters for MCIPAC resides aboard Camp Foster in Okinawa.
The total number of Marines in Japan is approximately 18,000.
COMMANDER, NAVAL FORCES JAPAN
Commander, Naval Forces, Japan, consisting of about 6,000 personnel, is responsible for maintaining and operating the port facilities and providing base and logistic support for those surface, subsurface, aviation and amphibious elements of the U.S. Seventh Fleet that operate from Japan as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF). U.S. Commander Navy Forces, Japan, participates with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force in exercises and planning. CNFJ is headquartered at Yokosuka.
COMMANDER, U.S. 7TH FLEET
U.S. Seventh Fleet, which is under the operation control of Commander, Pacific Fleet, has about 13,000 sailors, 18 ships, and 100 airplanes operating from Japan as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces.
5TH AIR FORCE
The Fifth Air Force mission is to maintain the deterrent force posture of the United States and to conduct offensive and defensive air operations, should deterrence fail. Supporting that mission are approximately 13,000 military and civilian personnel located at units throughout Japan. In addition to the tactical air roles, USAFJ provides theater airlift and operational support with cargo airlift. USAFJ participates with the Japan Air Self Defense Force in bilateral training exercises and the development of bilateral plans. Fifth Air Force is headquartered at Yokota Air Base and is commanded by COMUSJAPAN in a dual-hatted capacity.