U.S. Army Reorganizes Japan Command Unit
TOKYO (AP) _ A U.S. Army command unit designed to coordinate an American response to an invasion of Japan is being reorganized and some of its functions will move to the United States, officials said Tuesday.
The Army said the reorganization did not reflect any change in American military commitment to the Pacific region, but rather was part of the Pentagon’s effort to reduce the number of senior officer positions.
The Army is eliminating its IX Corps headquarters at Zama, 45 miles southwest of Tokyo, and establishing a new 9th Theater Army Area Command.
The old unit, with about 300 personnel and a major intelligence component, was designed to command about 90,000 soldiers that could be rapidly deployed from the United States in the event of war.
The new unit will be headed by a general of lower rank, and some of the old unit’s duties will shift to the Army’s I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash.
The IX Corps conducted annual joint-command drills with Japan’s military. Kyodo News Service said some Japanese defense officials expressed concern that the unit’s elimination would make it more difficult for U.S. and Japanese forces to work together if Japan was invaded.
A U.S. spokesman, Capt. Jay Shiffler, said the reorganization ″does not represent any change in our commitment to the region.″ He said the number of personnel at Zama would remain the same.