UNITED NATIONS COMMAND – REAR
When UNC Headquarters moved from Tokyo to Seoul in 1957, UNC-Rear Headquarters took over management of UN-designated bases and UNC operations in Japan, as well as maintenance of key relationships with relevant government offices. UNC-Rear continues its operations today in support of peace in Northeast Asia, conducting the functions of UNC in Japan to ensure the Agreement continues to provide a vehicle for Sending State contributions to the UNC mission. UNC-Rear supports the transit and operation of UNC sending states' forces through Japan during the Armistice at designated UNC facilities. There are seven bases currently designated as UNC facilities in Japan, which fly the UN flag.
General Headquarters United Nations command (UNC) was established in Tokyo, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur following United Nations Security Council resolution 84 (UNSCR 84), being passed. The primary purpose of UNC was to provide command and control for the UN Forces involved in the Korean War. When Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty in September 1951, the "Treaty of San Francisco" there was also an exchange of notes would permit the continued support of UN Forces in Japan in support of the defense of the Republic of Korea.
UN Forces and Government of Japan Agreement
On 19 February 1954, these exchange-of-notes were formalized and several of the UN Sending States and Japan, signed a Status of Forces agreement (SOFA).
Why was UNC-R Formed?
When UNC headquarters relocated from Tokyo to Seoul in 1957, a small element was left behind to maintain the UNC agreement with Japan. This unit became "United Nations Command - Rear". In a contingency UNC-R manages the force flow of Sending State Forces through Japan.
What Does The SOFA Require?
The SOFA requires UNC to comply with the following stipulations:
What Does The SOFA Permit?
- UNC must maintain a presence in Japan
- UNC-R must be multinational
- The US and Japan must mutually designate bases for use by UN Sending States
- UNC designated bases must fly the UN flag
- UNC-R must exercise the use of those bases by UN Sending States
The UNC agreement allows for UN bases in Japan to provide logistics support. UNC-R is required to notify the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that activity under the agreement is taking place, but the agreement is the approval authority.
How Is The SOFA Maintained?
A key requirement of the SOFA is to exercise it, which the UNC-R achieves by exercising the use of the seven current UN/U.S. bases by UN Sending States. These nations regularly send ships, aircraft and personnel to UN bases in Japan, under the UN flag. By doing so, Sending States are able to rehearse the procedures necessary to conduct missions during a contingency and to enable U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) to enhance their preparedness to support Sending State Forces which would either transit through or operate from Japan. All logistic support for visiting Sending State Forces is provided by USFJ. As such, USFJ is a key partner and enabler.
The current active signatories to the UNC agreement are Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States.