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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The U.S. Navy is shifting some of its personnel in Japan to work at the newly created Maritime Fleet Coordination Center-Atsugi.

Two dozen Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces 7th Fleet (CTF-72) billets — including that of the commander — will be transferred from Misawa to Naval Air Facility Atsugi in coming months.

Navy officials said the moves will be staggered and will occur as those serving at Misawa prepare to leave their billets for new duty stations.

When Rear Adm. James Grunewald — who also commands Task Force 57 and Fleet Air Western Pacific — leaves Misawa later this summer, his relief will move directly to Atsugi.

CTF-72 liaison officer Cmdr. Carol Prather said those moving to Atsugi will work at the new coordination center, which began operations in November.

The center is run jointly with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Prather said the goal was to enhance information sharing on maritime control aircraft — P-3s — between the two navies.

“We right now have five (U.S. sailors) in Atsugi who stand watch in conjunction with JMSDF personnel,” she said.

“This formalizes the relationship and allows us daily personal interaction.”

Prather said the move won’t change the Navy’s mission at Misawa and that 110 personnel will remain.

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