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Although Japanese nationals fill many jobs on bases, a common perception is that they are taking work away from U.S. civilians and military spouses.

Not so, says Sara Overstreet, Human Resource Office director at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.

“The Japanese national positions are primarily funded by the government of Japan and are filled by Japanese nationals,” she said.

Her office serves about 70 organizations at bases in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea, Diego Garcia and Singapore.

“We service more than 11,000 employees, including 9,300 Japanese nationals, 1,400 U.S. Civil Service and 500 foreign nationals (other than Japanese),” she said.

Of the Civil Service jobs, a third are recruited from the States because of the experience required for the positions, Overstreet said. The remaining two-thirds are filled locally by family members and other U.S. citizens, including veterans, she added.

When a job needs filling in an organization, managers contact Overstreet’s office. If it is determined the position requires someone from the States, the office contacts its sister organization, the Human Resources Service Center Pacific, in Hawaii.

The center maintains a database of qualified candidates to whom it announces the job opening, according to Overstreet. Vetting normally takes about two weeks, after which a list of qualified candidates is forwarded to Human Resource Office staff, who cull the best-qualified candidates to interview.

If the position is designated for local recruitment, said Overstreet, her office or one of its satellites posts a vacancy announcement. Normally, within 10 days a list of qualified candidates is submitted. But Overstreet realizes the system can’t satisfy everyone.

“I believe that we have a limited number of positions available for a large number of spouses,” Overstreet said.


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