Lieutenant General Nicholson announces “Japan’s version of Marines” for Okinawa deployment


November 17, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


On November 16, the Okinawa Area Coordinator (OAC) Lawrence Nicholson announced that the Ministry of Defense (MOD) will establish the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB), with future deployment to a U.S. base in Okinawa in mind. The ARDB is referred to as Japan’s version of the Marine Corps, and will be part of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF).


Nicholson made this announcement in an interview at Camp Courtney in Uruma City. He has heard that the ARDB will send a regiment to Okinawa but does not know the period of deployment, which is up to the MOD’s discretion. This is the first occasion that a U.S.-Japan authority has made reference to deployment of the ARDB.


Nicholson hypothesized that the ARDB will be deployed to Camp Schwab in Nago City, or to Camp Hansen which stretches in part through Ginoza Village.
In addition, Nicholson voiced his hope that opening a U.S. base in Okinawa to shared use with the SDF would provide an example for interoperability between the forces and set the stage for more joint-use bases.
He voiced his concern about a current shortcoming in Okinawa, namely that the bases are not joint bases. “If you went to Hokkaido or Camp Fuji you will see U.S. Marines training with JGSDF, so why not here?” he pondered.


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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