Camp Foster (Camp Zukeran)
Spreading over a large area in the central part of the main island, Camp Foster (Camp Zukeran) is in Okinawa city, Ginowan city, Chatan town, and Kitanakagusuku village. As of the early 2000s, Camp Foster was home to the Marine Corps Base Headquarters and the US Forces Japan's Okinawa Area Field Office, functioning as the center of Marine Corps operations on Okinawa. Also, weapon and equipment maintenance facilities, a residential area, golf course, and all other functions needed for the US military stationed abroad were located there.
The United States and Japan released the Final Report of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) on 2 December 1996. The report made 27 recommendations to reduce the impact of the US military presence on the Okinawan people. This included the consolidation of US housing areas in Camp Lester (Camp Kuwae) and Camp Foster (Camp Zukeran) and the return of portions of land in housing areas there with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 2008. Approximately 83 hectares (206 acres) at Camp Foster and 35 hectares (85 acres) at Camp Lester were to be returned through housing consolidation.
On 5 April 2013, the US Department of Defense released a Consolidation Plan for Facilities and Areas in Okinawa. The realignment described in the plan, including consolidation, of US forces within Okinawa was a significant effort by the US and Japanese Governments, which recognized the importance of enhancing Japanese and US public support for the security alliance, which contributed to a sustainable presence of US forces at facilities and areas in Japan as stated in "U.S.-Japan Alliance: Transformation and Realignment for the Future," a document of the Security Consultative Committee (SCC), dated 29 October 2005. When implemented, the realignment would ensure a life-of-the-Alliance presence for US forces in Japan as stated in "United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation," also known as the Realignment Roadmap, another SCC document, dated 1 May 2006. The realignment would also maintain deterrence and mitigate the impact of US forces on local communities. In order to realize the realignment, the US and Japanese Governments developed and would implement the consolidation plan.
In a SCC Joint Statement on 27 April 2012, the US and Japanese Governments confirmed that the total or partial return of the 6 facilities and areas designated in the Realignment Roadmap remained unchanged and that the land of aforementioned facilities and areas utilized by US forces were eligible for return under the Consolidation Plan in 3 categories: 1) Areas eligible for immediate return upon completion of necessary procedures; 2) Areas eligible for return once the replacement facilities in Okinawa were provided; and, 3) Areas eligible for return as US Marine Corps forces relocate from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan. Areas of Camp Foster were included in all 3 categories. The priority in master planning would be to ensure Camp Foster remained an effective and efficient base under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States of America and Japan. In order to reduce the impact of US forces on local communities, the US and Japanese Governments had developed this consolidation plan, including sequencing of relocation steps, with a particular focus on determining the end-state of Camp Foster. This effort considered the land usage at Camp Foster required by the revised Marine Corps unit composition. The possible impact of the joint and shared use of facilities on Okinawa affected the effort.
Areas eligible for immediate return upon completion of necessary procedures at Camp Foster were the West Futenma Housing area and a portion of the warehouse area of the Facilities and Engineering Compound. The West Futenma Housing area covered approximately 52 hectares and was said to be able to be returned upon completion of necessary procedures for return in JFY2014 or later. The warehouse area of the Facilities and Engineering Compound covered approximately 10 hectares. This did not include the Shirahi River area, which was not agreed to be returned at the time of the 27 April 2012 SCC Joint Statement. However, it would be an additional area of land return based on the request of the local community. To prepare for the land return, the MCCS complex, including, but not limited to administrative offices, maintenance shops, and storage buildings would have to be relocated to Camp Hansen. This area was said to be able to be returned upon completion of the MCCS move and necessary procedures for return in JFY2019 or later.
Areas eligible for return once the replacement facilities in Okinawa were provided were the Lower Plaza Housing area, a part of Kishaba Housing area, and the Industrial Corridor. The Lower Plaza Housing area covered approximately 23 hectares. To prepare for the land return family housing (102 units in total) would have to be relocated within Camp Foster under Okinawa Housing Consolidation (OHC). The OHC plan under SACO was reevaluated and based on the post-Defense Posture Review Initiatives (DPRI) family housing requirement on Okinawa. To support the land return, a total of approximately 910 family housing units, including the replacement of units to be demolished at the construction areas, would have to be constructed in addition to the 56 units that had already been agreed to. This area was said to be able to be returned upon completion of various conditions and necessary procedures for return in JFY2024 or later. The designated part of the Kishaba Housing area for return covered approximately 5 hectares. The area for return had been modified from the area agreed to in the SACO Final Report based on the request of the local community. This move was also based on the reevaluated OHC plan and family housing (a total 32 units) would be relocated within Camp Foster under OHC. This area was said to be able to be returned upon completion of conditions and necessary procedures for return in JFY2024 or later. Camp Foster's Industrial Corridor covered approximately 62 hectares. To prepared for the land return the US Army warehouse would have to be relocated to Torii Communication Station, school bus service related facilities would have to be relocated to the Chibana area of the Kadena Ammunition Storage Area, Marine Corps transportation related facilities would have to be relocated to Camp Hansen, the Recycling Center would have to be relocated to Camp Hansen, Community support facilities would have to be relocated within Camp Foster, Marine Corps wing support related facilities would have to be relocated to Camp Schwab, Marine Corps communications related facilities would have to be relocated to Camp Courtney, and Marine Corps logistics support units would have to be relocated to locations outside of Japan. It was said that the Industrial Corridor could be returned upon completion of conditions and necessary procedures for return in JFY2024 or later.
In the 27 April 2012 SCC Joint Statement, it was stated that remaining facilities and infrastructure at Camp Foster were to be consolidated to the extent possible and that additional elements of Camp Foster were eligible for return as US Marine Corps forces relocate from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan. In the course of developing the consolidation plan, the US and Japanese Governments identified and agreed to additional elements on Camp Foster for return. During the course of master planning for facilities and areas remaining in Okinawa, the area adjacent to the Industrial Corridor (approximately 0.5 hectares not otherwise agreed to as part of the return of the Industrial Corridor) would be studied to identify whether additional returns might be possible. The US Government remained committed to return facilities and areas on Camp Foster that were found to be no longer needed for the purpose of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) after the publication of this consolidation plan in accordance with existing SOFA obligations.