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U.S. and Japan to Hold Joint Military Exercises

Posted June. 07, 2004 22:22,   


The U.S. is set to carry out the realignment of U.S. military forces overseas in an effort to make Japan a military stronghold not only in Asia but also in the Middle East as well. This plan includes a joint use of military bases and the move of the U.S. Army’s I Corps, which commands the entire Asia-Pacific region, to Japan.

It is expected that there will be a big change in the military map of Northeast Asia since ties between the two nations’ forces would be strengthened as the regular operational system.

The Asahi Shimbun reported on June 7 that Washington is seeking a proposal to transfer between 600 and 700 strong troops in the artillery corps of the III Marine Expeditionary Forces, now based in Okinawa, to the training area of the Ground Self Defense Force (GSDF) in Hokkaido. It is also reported that Tokyo has positively considered the offer. Since 1984, the III Marine Expeditionary Force has been holding joint training exercises with the GSDF’s Army, but it has never resided in the same bases with the GSDF.

In addition to that report, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, quoting diplomatic sources, reported on the same day that the two nations would hold large-scale joint training exercises starting next year in an attempt to attack such targets as the North Korean Ballistic Missiles as “No-dong.” In a similar attempt, Japan plans to position the Air Defense Command to Yokota Air Base to carry out systematic joint military operations.

Furthermore, it is reportedly said that the United States has already proposed moving the U.S. Army’s I Corps, now located in the state of Washington, to Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture. However, it is expected to cause heavy criticism since China and North Korea strongly oppose the introduction of “Missile Defense (MD)” system to Japan. In addition, the joint military exercises can be interpreted as claiming “the right of collective self-defense.”

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com