Support our mission

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — U.S. military installations in Japan bolstered security Friday after terrorist bombings during London’s morning rush hour Thursday killed at least 50 people and wounded about 700.

U.S. Forces Japan directed base commanders Thursday night to raise the force-protection level on their installations, USFJ spokesman Col. Victor Warzinski said Friday, declining to discuss specifics.

After consulting with supporting service commands U.S. Army Japan; Commander, Naval Forces Japan; Marine Forces Japan and 5th Air Force, USFJ ordered the higher threat condition “in view of events taking place elsewhere in the world,” Warzinski said.

“We don’t believe there are any direct or immediate threats, but we believe it’s important to emphasize personal security and awareness.”

While USFJ sets a minimum force-protection condition, local commanders are given discretion to decide whether they will do anything above the baseline, Warzinski said.

Most bases in Japan were at Force Protection Condition (FPCON) Bravo on Friday, the third-highest FPCON in the Pentagon’s five-tiered system — after Normal and Alpha — that applies when an increased or more predictable threat exists.

At Misawa in northern Japan, commuters streamed onto base Friday morning as usual, though the FPCON had risen overnight from Alpha to Bravo.

“It shouldn’t impact traffic flow,” said base spokesman Capt. John Haynes. “It’s primarily directed to getting people to ramp up their vigilance and keep an eye out for any suspicious activities.”

The base’s American Forces Network radio station, EDGE 1575, reminded listeners throughout the day of force-protection tips such as keeping residences locked, varying times of travel to and from work, being aware of one’s surroundings and other force-protection tips.

At Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, a base spokesman confirmed the FPCON was boosted to Bravo. Marines at Camp Fuji also went to that state of alert Friday, said a base operations official.

Yokota Air Base officials declined to discuss the current security level Friday. But signs posted at gates and on the video marquee along Airlift Avenue — the base’s main thoroughfare — indicated the installation was in condition Bravo.

Overnight, Yokota security officials raised the automatic metal bollards that surround tower apartments and other key buildings.

A Camp Zama spokeswoman contacted Friday would not discuss specific threat levels there.

Signs and fliers around the Army post, however, indicated a Bravo condition for all U.S. Army Japan facilities.

Commander, Naval Forces Japan spokesman Jon Nylander said Friday that Navy bases in Japan have taken appropriate force-protection measures in light of the London attacks but he would not discuss specific measures.

A sign at Naval Air Facility Atsugi indicated the base was at condition “Bravo Plus.”

Off base, East Japan Railway Co. tightened its security after the 2004 railway attacks in Spain, Japan Railways East spokesman Jun Kubota said, with measures such as changing garbage cans at stations from metal to clear plastic, putting garbage cans aboard bullet trains and Narita Express trains out of use and beefing up patrols.

The Marine Corps on Okinawa would not discuss specific force-protection conditions.

“We are, however, stressing security at our installations and reminding people to stay alert,” said spokesman Capt. Danny S. Chung in a written statement.

Officials at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa reported a force-protection condition of Alpha on Friday morning.

U.S. Forces Korea was mum about force-protection levels.

“As a matter of routine, we continuously review our procedures and force protection measures against any perceived threat,” USFK spokesman David Oten stated in an e-mail response.

But “as a matter of policy we do not discuss specific security measures.”

As of Friday morning, no change in alert levels was reported on Guam, according to officials at U.S. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base.

Vince Little, Greg Tyler, Erik Slavin, Fred Zimmerman, Hana Kusumoto, Sid Acker and T.D. Flack contributed to this report.

author headshot
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up