CAMP ZAMA, Japan — Army officials in Japan have implemented a new ID system for local employees on U.S. Army installations.

The system involves special access cards and scanners for all Master Labor Contract and Indirect Hire Agreement employees.

Employees on normal work schedules must show their cards to gate guards for entry between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The cards are not scanned, to cut down on entry time.

If employees are visiting the post for official business outside those hours, guards will scan the cards and allow them to enter. The scans will be compiled in reports every two weeks. Anything unusual will be reported to an employee’s supervisor, said Thomas Onoyama, chief of Zama Provost Marshal’s registration office.

Employees visiting the installation who are not on official business need an escort, Onoyama said.

Employees who are given 24-hour access — like firefighters and security guards — will have their ID cards scanned every time they enter.

An earlier version implemented this year prohibited employees from coming onto post outside their set working hours without prior permission. The restriction made it difficult for employees to work overtime or access their offices after hours.

To allow after-hours entry, supervisors put employees’ names on lists, but those lists were not always distributed to gate guards, Onoyama said.

In one case, Onoyama said, an employee returned from temporary duty at night and could not drop off work or pick up a private vehicle left on post.

While the Department of Defense is phasing in new Common Access Cards for all servicemembers, access for contractors has been left up to installation commanders, according to defense officials.

The system coincides with the DOD’s program, but the two are unrelated, said Onoyama.

“It’s a completely different system, a completely different purpose,” Onoyama said. “It has nothing to do with the military. It’s a locally acquired system.”

He said officials at Zama planned the system to improve security even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

U.S. Army Garrison Japan has implemented the system in Kanto Plain area installations. Army posts in Hiroshima and Okinawa soon will implement the system as well, Onoyama said.

The system does not affect other services in Japan or Army bases outside Japan.

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