Camp Foster, formerly known as Camp Zukeran (Japanese: キャンプ・フォスター), is a United States Marine Corps camp located in Ginowan City with portions overlapping into Okinawa City, Chatan town and Kitanakagusuku village in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa Island. It is part of the Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler complex.
|Okinawa Island, Japan|
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Some of Camp Foster's area overlaps with Okinawa City, Chatan town and Kitanakagusuku village in the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa Island. It houses the headquarters of Marine Corps Base Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific and the Okinawa Area Field Office of United States Forces Japan. It was named after the Medal of Honor recipient PFC William A. Foster.
Among its amenities are a large exchange with an adjacent food court. There is a smaller exchange “PX” next to the large exchange, which has a nail salon, barber shop, soft bank, AU, and a toy land. Near the commissary is a bowling alley, skate park, performing arts center and movie theater. The base operates three schools: Zukeran and Killin elementary schools and Kubasaki High School. The base's housing units include Kishaba, Chatan, Futenma, Plaza and Sada.
In October 2013 Japanese officials entered the base with US permission to look for buried cultural properties. They discovered dozens of abandoned metal drums, but did not report this to the Ginowan city's mayor until March 2014. Members of the Japanese defense ministry's local bureau and Ginowan city visually inspected the site, as part of its cultural property research and "no unusual odor or color change in soil" was detected. Also apparently no health problems have been actively "reported by residents living around the base". Ginowan city government had called the Japanese defense ministry's to investigate for "possible environmental impacts". The Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said: "We will take appropriate measures in cooperation with the United States and the city of Ginowan" as they plan environmental studies on soil in the week of 18 March 2014. The United States rarely allow environmental inspections on U.S. bases not planned for return to Japan.
The Futenma housing area of the base originally was to be returned to Japan between 2001 and 2003, 5–7 years from 1996. In 2006, the Nishi-Futenma housing area at Camp Foster was vacated and slated for return to Japan, but Japanese concerns of contamination stalled the transfer. For example, bungalows in the military housing area built in the 1950s were insulated with asbestos. Per the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement from 1960 the U.S military is not responsible for the remediation of land polluted by its bases in Japan. Because the central government has not challenged the dated agreement, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly created its own special committee regarding U.S. bases, to collect information directly about past use and storage of chemicals. In October 2013 it created a department of pollution, which would circumvent the central government and its environmental investigations, which some believe are not interested in communicating the true levels of pollution.
On 31 March 2015 the West Futenma housing area on Camp Foster was returned to Okinawa Prefecture, reducing and consolidating land used by the U.S. military. A 20-hectare part of the area is earmarked for a medical division with plans to build a prefecture administered advanced heavy particle cancer therapy facility. The University of the Ryukyus Faculty of Medicine, including the University Hospital, is also scheduled to move from its current location in Nishihara into a new facility to be constructed on the land.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Camp Foster.|
- "Japan to inspect soil at U.S. base in Okinawa for contamination". Kyodo News International. 2014 GlobalPost – International News. 14 March 2014. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Japan set dates for handing back six bases". Japan Update.com. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Jon Mitchell (4 December 2013). "Pollution rife on Okinawa's U.S.-returned base land". The Japan Times. Retrieved 20 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Part of Futenma housing area returned today". Stars and Stripes. 2015 Stars and Stripes – International News. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Camp Smedley D. Butler website
- Camp Foster website
- MCCS Okinawa
- Camp Foster Google Map from MCCS Okinawa