By Izumi Morine, NAVFAC Far East Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East public works personnel assigned to the Negishi, Japan, housing area will begin transitioning to Fleet Activities Yokosuka Feb. 1.
Home to American personnel and their families since 1947, the Negishi housing complex is entering a transition period, eventually to be returned to the Government of Japan.
"The transition of the Negishi housing area is a significant event that has impacted many residents and employees." Public Works Officer Cmdr. Edward Miller said. "I truly appreciate the dedicated service our Public Works employees have provided to the families of Negishi and look forward to their continued service to the residents and personnel in the Yokosuka area."
Approximately 20 percent of Public Works employees will transition to Yokosuka on Feb. 1. As the first group of employees prepares for new assignments, some long-time employees reflected on time spent working there.
"Negishi housing area is filled with a peaceful atmosphere and has a grand view of Mt. Fuji," said Kazuo Ooguro, who has worked at the maintenance branch for 27 years. "I was busy and used to take care of Sanno Hotel, Camp Fuji, Tsurumi and Koshiba gas station."
"I have a deep emotional attachment to the Negishi work force. Negishi is a very fantastic place where I could enjoy the changing seasons. I will miss Negishi," said Tsugio Hama, who has worked in utilities for 25 years.
"I have two big memories," said Shoji Kitahara, who has worked in utilities for 25 years. "One is the fuel tank oil switch explosion in 1995. After the explosion, commanding officer of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, at that time presented us a letter of appreciation for battling the fires with the fire department. The other one is a big landslide that happened in 2000."
"Negishi is a much smaller installation than Yokosuka," said Yuko Ota, who has worked in transportation for 20 years. "This made the employees' bond deep and strong. We helped and took care of each other."
"The pending turnover of the Negishi Housing area is a life changing period for our employees working there. Many of our employees live in the Yokohama area and have worked their entire career at Negishi," said Production Officer Lt. Cmdr. Arce Doble. "We are focused on supporting the transition of the compound, but it is also a priority for us to ensure a smooth transition for our employees to the main Fleet Activities Yokosuka base without adding undue burden onto them."
The 106 acre Negishi housing area holds 385 homes and public facilities. Fewer than 50 home units are currently occupied, and all are expected to be vacant at the end of calendar year 2015. As part of the transition, new housing units will be built at Ikego, Japan.
"As the chapter comes to a close on the Negishi Housing area, we can look back on the proud history of this installation and know it served its families and employees well. Its legacy and the memories will be long felt by all," Cmdr. Miller said.