US military bases in Japan

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US military bases in Japan. Map of the Japan with military bases of the United States


113 U.S. Base(s)


Hundreds of bases since World War II; after 1995 rape, anti-base protests have escalated in Okinawa (20% occupied by U.S.).


 Yokota Air Force Base in Fussa, Japan US Military Bases in Japan


Yokota Air Base is one of the US military bases set up on the territory of Japan after World War II. It is located in one of the 26 major cities of Western Tokyo – Fussa. It covers more than 136000 square km and hosts over 14000 individuals. It benefits from a 3.3 km long runaway too. The base is operated by the US Air Force. Some of the most important nonmilitary activities held at the base include the Friendship Festival. It is a local celebration that opens a wide part of the base for civilians, allowing them to inspect the planes, get inside them, learn about their history and features and see a few spectacular shows.


The base was first known as Tama Airfield. It was built by the Empire of Japan main army in 1940. It was used for tests and training activities only. It gained popularity and importance during World War II, when it was turned into the most important site for the Japanese Air Force. At the same time, the base was also a good and safe meeting point for the Japanese and Italian authorities. Japan and Italy had one of the strongest connections during the war.


The war reached to an end in the autumn of 1945, when the Empire of Japan surrendered. At the same time, an American cavalry division was sent to occupy the base and deal with it. The base was renamed to Fussa Army Airfield. A few days later, the authorities decided the Yokota sounded better. The initial objective of Yokota Air Base was to support the 2nd Combat Cargo Group, which brought in four squadrons. The upcoming two decades came with a lot of improvements. The base was upgraded and updated to the latest technologies. The major “face lift” finished in the ’60s. Some of the side effects of the expansion include the modification of a road, a highway and a line. During the first years after the war, the initial troops mostly dealt with the detailed mapping of South Korea and Japan.


The base played a very important role in the Korean War, as it was relatively close. However, it also saw a tragic plane crash in 1957, close to the base. All the troops on board were killed. When the Korean War ended, the base went into a stand-by status. It didn’t really act in the Cold War at all. Instead, the Vietnam War turned it into one of the most active US military bases in Asia.


In 2005, the base became the headquarters of the Japan Air defensive forces. It was also opened to civilian flights to help with the intense traffic on other airports in the area.


Yokota Air Base, Japan is the home of the 347th Airlift Wing, with all the four groups for mission support, operations, medical and maintenance. Each of these groups is responsible with different objectives and tasks. The base also hosts seven tenant and associated units, with less major responsibilities.


 Misawa Air Force Base in Misawa, Japan US Military Bases in Japan


Misawa Air Base is located in the Honshu Island of Japan, only 5 km away from the Pacific Ocean. It is run by the Pacific Air Forces and represents the one and only combined military base in the Pacific. It hosts both Japanese and American troops. It is a co-base operated by the Air Force, under the regulations of the Japanese government. The American population on site goes around 5500 individuals. The primary objectives of the base include space surveillance using the satellites and geosyncronous operations. It is considered to be the largest ECHELON ground base. At the same time, the installation is also used for civilian flights, making it one of the few such combined bases in the area.


The base history dates since the Meiji era, as the first half of the Japanese Empire is referred to. The era lasted between 1868 and 1912. It was used by the Imperial Army for cavalry training sessions. The operations went on until 1938, when the authorities decided to build the first runway for an airport. Starting with the same year, the the place hosted some of the most important and experienced bombardment units. In 1944, it was taken through a round of renovations and improvements for the Kamikaze Special Attack troops.


Prior to World War II, the base was used for the training sessions of those who attacked Pearl Harbor. The lake in the area was relatively similar to the waters around Pearl Harbor, so the place was perfect. When the United States of America were drawn into World War II, Misawa Air Base experienced an almost total damage, with up to 90% of the base completely destroyed by the US bombardment troops.


The American history in the area starts with 1945. The base was completely reconstructed and supported plenty of flights during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. At the same time, it was an excellent spot for secret surveillance missions in Russia and China during the ’50s. The first Japanese troops joined the base in 1954.


In the modern era, the base suffered from most earthquakes that hit Japan. At the same time, the officials discovered that almost 50% of the military personnel was overweight.


The host unit at Misawa Air Base is American – the 35-th Fighter Wing. The mission support group hosts 7 squadrons, while the medical group consists of 5 only. At the same time, the operations group and the maintenance group have 4 squadrons each. Among the staff agencies, you can count the Wing Protocol, the Retiree Activities Office and the Comptroller Squadron. The base is also the home for the Japan Self Defense Forces, as well as two other American units.


The housing service at Misawa Air Base is very ramified. It depends if you come there as a single soldier or with your family. You have one to four bedroom housing opportunities. At the same time, the non government housing or the off site privatized system are just as popular in the area. Make sure you deal with your application correctly and understand all the terms.


 Fleet Activities Sasebo Naval Base in Sasebo, Japan US Military Bases in Japan

Fleet Activities Sasebo is one of the few military bases that fully describe the peaceful and growing political relationship between Japan and the United States of America. There are ships belonging to both sides sharing the port and fully cooperating for its maintenance. The military base is run and operated by the United States Navy. It is located in Sasebo, on the southern Japanese island Kyushu. Its primary mission is to provide full support to logistic operations taking place in the Pacific area.



The history of Fleet Activities Sasebo dates back to 1883. At that time, the Japanese forces were quickly gaining strength and popularity. In an attempt to turn the country into a force, the authorities found this island a great strategical point on the map. Back then, Sasebo was nothing but a fishing village. It was picked by Togo Heihachiro and by 1905, it became one of the most important bases of Japan. The battle of Tsushima represents one of the classic and epic battles led from this base. Led by Togo Heihachiro, the Japanese troops quickly took down the Russian Baltic Fleet. The base reached its peak during World War II.


During the war, there were more than 60,000 employees working on site. The base was responsible for aircrafts, ships and submarines. The American domination began in the autumn of 1945. The first unit that landed there was the 5-th Division. It was only the beginning. By the summer of 1946, the United States of America fully established Fleet Activities Sasebo.


The base played a major role during the Korean War. In fact, it was the main launching point for the United States of America and the UN Forces. There were close to 20,000 American troops deployed on site. The common usage of both American and Japanese forces began after the Korean War reached to an end. The Self Defense Forces of Japan were created at that time and the first ships arrived within a few weeks only.


Another great role was assigned during Operation Desert Storm. It took place from 1990 to 1991. Fleet Activities Sasebo was assigned a role in logistics. It was a supply spot for fuel for all the operations in the Persian Gulf. These days, the activities on site are not as intense anymore. In fact, the base is in an unofficial standby mode.


Judging by the amazing roles this place had over some of the most important conflicts of the last century, the facilities on site are extremely advanced, only to support the troops in their missions. There are plenty of religious programs for all religions, therefore no one is forgotten. The Branch Health Clinic is among the major medical centers in the area. It is part of a wider network of clinics and hospitals.


When interested in killing their time and relaxing, the troops can rely on a society club or a lot of other shops and snack bars. The experience for families is similar to what they can get in the United States of America.


 Naval Air Facility Atsugi Navy Base in Kanagawa, Japan US Military Bases in Japan

Naval Air Facility Atsugi is one of the United States Navy military bases established in Japan. It spreads over two local cities – Ayase and Yamato. They are located in the Kanagawa province. If you count its size, it is the widest facility of the US Navy in the Pacific area. It is a co-base run by the USA under the Japanese regulations. It is named after a nearby city, although it is not adjacent to it. That is because the name was picked in the ’50s. Back then, Atsugi was the only real city nearby. The other current cities were nothing but some small insignificant villages. The facility is commanded by Steven J. Wieman.


Before being owned by the United States Navy, Naval Air Facility Atsugi belonged to the Japanese Navy. It was established before World War II, in 1938. It was built as a home for one of the most advanced and expert squadrons Japan relied on during the war. The unit was amazing and counted a lot of successful operations throughout the war – the 302-nd Corps. The planes hosted at the base eliminated more than 300 bombers belonging to the USA in 1945. The V Day came with Japan surrendering to the allied nations, but not this base too. Although the commander’s orders were specific and implied surrendering, the pilots thought differently. They took off and flew above some of Japan’s largest cities to urge the population against the USA. It was one of the most patriotic acts from World War II.


Naval Air Facility Atsugi got under American occupation starting with the same year. On August, 30-th, Douglas MacArthur got to the base to accept the surrendering terms. A few days later, the first American troops got to inhabit the empty facility. The base was not in the best shape after more weeks of bombing. It took the Americans more than a month to reestablish it. The first flights showed up in October, same year. However, there was still a lot of work to do. This is why the popular Seabees were sent on site to deal with the reconstruction process in 1950.


Naval Air Facility Atsugi played an impressive role over the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was probably the most active base during those years. It supported all types of aircrafts, from transportation planes to bombers. One of the aircrafts hosted at the site caused an international incident when it was taken down above the Soviet Union. By 1972, the relations between Japan and the United States of America got better. Therefore, the two governments set up an agreement to share the base.


One of the latest events the base was involved in includes the latest major earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 – Tohoku. The tsunami it formed caused huge damage and affected the nuclear plant at Fukushima. Plenty of Americans voluntarily left the base to save themselves from any potential dangers, while the Japanese stuck together to help those in need.