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No to MCAS Futenma – Kadena AB merger

Futenma

MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan

[Breitbart] “The United States said Thursday it cannot support the idea of transferring the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture to the nearby U.S. Kadena Air Base due to operational difficulties.

“Operationally, it is unworkable,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. “And so you cannot consolidate the Air Force operations, the Marine Corps operations onto that facility and do all the things that we need to do to provide for the defense of Japan.” “So that is not a suitable replacement for Futemma,” he said.

Noting the United States has weighed the Futemma-Kadena merger option before, Morrell said the conclusion was that “it simply does not work.”

“The only replacement that works is the one that’s been agreed to by both of our governments, that’s been built over the last 15 years, and that’s Camp Schwab,” he said. “And that’s where we are focusing our efforts, and we hope the Japanese government will, as well.” Click here for more.

The top commander of US Forces Japan, Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, cited difficulties with the plan from the viewpoint of military operations. He said it would be difficult to transfer U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa to nearby U.S. Kadena Air Base. Source.

USMC felt that the plan was feasible:

The Marine Corps responded positively to a 1996 Japanese proposal to integrate the Marines’ Futenma Air Station into the Air Force’s Kadena Air Base before the Air Force opposed it, according to a U.S. document declassified Thursday.

The Marines called the proposal feasible, but U.S. Forces Japan as a whole did not endorse it after the Air Force opposed it, saying such integration would hamper its operational activities in the event of a contingency, according to the document compiled by U.S. Forces Japan.

In the document, a copy of which was obtained by Kyodo News, the Marine Corps argued that the integration of Futenma’s helicopter functions with Kadena is possible and that problems can be solved through a review of troop deployment at Kadena, expansion of aircraft parking space at Kadena, and use of Naha airport in times of emergency.

The Air Force, meanwhile, argued that such integration would hamper its operational activities in the event of a contingency and sharply reduce its mission potential, according to the document.

The document says that in conclusion, overall U.S. Forces Japan would not recommend an integration of Futenma with Kadena, citing political effects from a boost in force strength at Kadena and a decline in operational capabilities in emergencies.

The declassified document, dated July 26, 1996, makes a technical analysis of the impacts on U.S. forces’ operations from Futenma’s integration with Kadena. It rules out making any changes to force strength at Kadena.

The document discusses the feasibility of the plan, mentioning the use of Naha airport, an airfield in Okinawa used by civilian airlines and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, and a relocation of U.S. military planes at Kadena base to SDF bases in Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, as a congestion-reduction measure at Kadena in the event of a contingency.

It also refers to a possible relocation of U.S. forces’ functions from Okinawa to Japan’s main islands. Source

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