CAMP ZAMA, Japan (March 27, 2013) -- The relocation of a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force unit onto Camp Zama, which culminated with a welcome ceremony held here March 26, marks a "major milestone" in the U.S.-Japan security arrangement, the commander of U.S. Army Japan and I Corps (Forward) said.

Having the Central Readiness Force, or CRF, a 300-member unit previously headquartered at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's, or JGSDF's, Camp Asaka, in Tokyo, collocated on a U.S. military installation will contribute to improved bilateral coordination and strengthen the cooperation between the CRF and U.S. Army Japan, said Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr.

"In turn, this transition will increase the security of Japan and the peace and stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region," Harrison said during his remarks at the ceremony.

"[This collocation] will play an integral role in addressing many of the difficult security challenges we will be working through together for many years to come," Harrison added.

A parade featuring a formation of marching CRF service members led down a main street past cheering spectators, eventually ending at the entrance of the new CRF headquarters building.

Lt. Gen. Masahiro Hidaka, the CRF commanding general, was greeted by Harrison upon his arrival, followed shortly by a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the six-story facility conducted by the two generals and the mayors of Zama City and Sagamihara City, where Camp Zama is located.

Hidaka's remarks during the ceremony closely mirrored those given by Harrison.

"By relocating the headquarters of Central Readiness Force, we are able to establish a closer relationship with U.S. Army Japan," said Hidaka. "Also, this relocation will enhance our partnership and serve as the foundation for a consistently strong alliance. I promise to contribute toward evolving [that] alliance further."

Page last updated Wed March 27th, 2013 at 06:31