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Letter sparks housing concerns at Yokota

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Town hall meetings scheduled for Monday will include discussion about a DODDS letter that said U.S. civilian employees and some military personnel at Yokota will be relocated into off-base housing by 2011, base officials said Friday.

The letter, dated March 25 and signed by Nancy Bresell, director of Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific, has been disputed by base officials but has generated worry among civilians, several of whom expressed concerns to Stars and Stripes.

With the scheduled relocation of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Air Defense Command to Yokota — part of an overall U.S.-Japan "road map" for realignment released in 2006 — some have speculated that the arrival of the additional personnel could lead to an increased demand for on-base housing.

However, both Yokota and Japan Ministry of Defense officials said last week that no plan exists to move civilians or any other personnel off base.

Information regarding exactly how many Japanese troops will move to Yokota and when was not yet available, a Defense Ministry spokesman told Stripes.

"However, all the related projects are under progress to meet the deadline of March 2011 as stated in the road map," he said. "As for moving civilians to off-base housing, there is no such plan."

Bresell could not be reached by Stripes for comment on her letter, which said the purported relocation of civilians was part of a 2009 "Master Plan of the Military Family Housing Office."

DODDS-Pacific spokesman Chip Steitz said that any further questions about the matter should be directed to Yokota base officials and that "DODDS-Pacific/DDESS-Guam supports any decisions made by the Air Force."

Yokota officials did not respond by Friday evening to a request to review the housing master plan.

The town hall meetings will be held at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday at the base theater.

Among other topics to be discussed are current and upcoming Yokota construction, housing improvements, and several renovation and demolition projects, base officials said.

Stars and Stripes reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this story.


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