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Under a new U.S. Army Japan policy implemented last week, soldiers now must sign guests in and out when visiting an Army post and use the same gate for both, according to the Provost Marshal’s Office on Camp Zama.

Guests no longer can be admitted at Zama’s Gate 7, the northern gate near the golf course toward the Sagamihara Housing Area.

The changes are part of a larger, more sweeping access-policy revision still being planned, according to Maj. John Amberg, a Zama spokesman.

The sign-in rules affect all Army installations, including Camp Zama, Sagamihara Housing Area, Sagami Depot, Hardy Barracks in Tokyo and Torii Station on Okinawa.

“It’s a good control measure,” said Capt. Chris Mitchum, the provost marshal operations officer. “It gives us a record of who’s been on post.”

ID card holders, including dependents and Department of Defense civilians, must sign guests in at the gate and sign them out when they leave. It applies to guests on foot and in vehicles.

The process includes: the sponsor’s phone number; a guest phone number, if possible; the guest’s address; and the destination on post.

The record is a force-protection measure, but it could help find visitors in an emergency, Mitchum said.

“It helps with force protection and with safety and security,” Mitchum said.

The new policy allows gate guards to check guests’ names against a registry of people banned from Army posts. The written records will be tracked and could help in an investigation later on.

“We have a record, that’s what’s important,” Mitchum said.

The policy does not change other access rules and the sign in and out will be possible 24 hours a day. But people must enter and exit through the same gate.

The Army also altered where guests can be admitted at Camp Zama.

To reduce traffic congestion near Gate 7, which faces a sharp curve off post, visitors are no longer allowed to enter there. They can enter Gate 4 for walking and Gate 1, the main gate, in vehicles.

At other Army posts, entrance is at the main gate or Gate 1, except Sagami Depot where entry varies between Gates 1 and 5.

Mitchum said Zama’s Force Protection Working Group Committee suggested the change. Members say it will provide more accountability, better safety on post and better record-keeping.

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