Governor: Don’t put more troops at Zama
TOKYO — Kanagawa’s governor visited American officials in Washington on Monday and expressed concern about the U.S. bases in his prefecture.
Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa told Pentagon East Asia Affairs and State Department officials he opposes stationing any additional troops at the U.S. Army’s Camp Zama, according to a news release from his office. Recent Japanese news reports, quoting unnamed sources, suggested possible U.S. troop moves, including Army I Corps headquarters moving to Zama and Okinawa-based U.S. Marines moving to the northern island of Hokkaido, most likely to the Yausubetsu Training Area.
According to the release, Matsuzawa told Pentagon officials he can’t allow base buildup in a populated area and can’t accept additional housing for U.S. servicemembers. He said he wants U.S. bases — including Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Yokosuka Naval Base and Sagami Depot — to consolidate.
According to the release, U.S. officials said the Army wants modernization at Camp Zama.
Matsuzawa also urged the officials not to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Yokosuka after the USS Kitty Hawk retires in 2008, emphasizing the Japanese people’s adverse reaction to nuclear power. The U.S. officials did not deny the possibility but asked for Japan’s understanding, noting their confidence in its safety and the fact that no accidents have occurred, the release said.
Mayors of Sagamihara and Zama cities near Camp Zama visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, urging it to provide information regarding any troop movements to Camp Zama.