The Japanese government has agreed to allow the US Army's 1st Corps headquarters to move from its current location in Washington State to Camp Zama outside Tokyo, a report in the Japanese-language daily Asahi Shimbun said yesterday.
Camp Zama is located in the cities of Zama and Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture. The restructuring of the US Army's 1st Corps headquarters is part of an adjustment to allow for better defense cooperation between the US and Japan in the Far East.
Many analysts cite the need to respond rapidly to a contingency on the Korean Peninsula or in the Taiwan Strait as a major factor behind the move.
The sphere of the US Army's 1st Corps headquarters command currently spans the Pacific and Indian oceans. According to media reports, the Japanese government's acceptance of the plan would be contingent on allowing the headquarters to deal only with affairs in the Pacific.
Many details of the move still remain to be worked out before Tokyo will officially accept the plan, the Asahi said. If the move goes ahead, Camp Zama is expected to serve as a unified command center for the army, navy, air force and the marine corps, the report said.
Some 50,000 US troops are stationed in Japan under the Treaty of Mutual Security between the Japan and the United States of America, most of them in Okinawa.
On Monday, Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi met with the new US ambassador to Japan, Thomas Schieffer. Yachi told Schieffer that bilateral ties between Japan and the US have been "in a very good situation" thanks to close personal relations between US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the Foreign Ministry said.
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