As Yokosuka fills up, some civilians are asked to move out
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — In the past, civilians could linger in base housing at Yokosuka beyond the “five-year” rule. Others opted for bachelor officer quarters instead of living off base.
There was no harm in this — as long as there was room to spare, base officials said Friday.
But now — with the base running at 98 percent occupancy, a new aircraft carrier bringing a host of people and the implementation of a junior sailor housing initiative — lingering civilians are being asked to find housing off base.
The base housing office asked about 10 civilian families to leave their homes and seven single civilians to leave the BOQ this fall. They are relocating to Ikego, Negishi or housing on the economy with the last to be moved after the New Year, said base commander Capt. Daniel Weed.
While they are not being “kicked out” or “moved to a desolate wasteland,” they do have to leave the highly coveted Yokosuka base, Weed said.
“Everyone wants to live where it’s most convenient,” Weed said.
Civilian Jennifer Smith agrees. She moved into the BOQ in the spring of 2004 after living off base for several months for its “convenience to work, the gym and doing things off base,” she said. Her room also had several American niceties — big appliances and central heating — and helped her save money on services such as Internet and TV, she said.
Smith will need that money, as she is being relocated due to the Homeport Ashore initiative — the movement to place more than 3,000 fleet sailors rated E-4 and below into barracks rooms while in port — and the need for transient housing, according to a letter sent out this summer. A new Commander Navy Installations Command policy also limits BOQ stays to 30 days, Weed said.
The base volunteered to move Smith to Negishi, but she is on her own for the $9,000 upfront cash needed if she wants to move into an off-base apartment closer to the base, she said.
“It has been a problem because I would not have moved into the BOQ if I knew that … I was going to have to move out again,” Smith said.
Department of Defense policy allows eligible civilians to occupy military family housing overseas with the understanding that the availability may be canceled after five consecutive years.