Part of Futenma housing area returns to Okinawa today

The western part of Futenma housing area on Camp Foster returned to Okinawa Prefecture on Mar. 31.

The former Futenma family housing area is scheduled to change into a large medical center, residential housing and park over the next 10 years.

For the future development, the returned land is divided into four major divisions. 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.

The Futenma High School will move into a new school building that will be built on a 5-hectare lot in the area called the education division.

10 hectares are reserved for residential development, and another 10 hectares will become an urban park zone.

The schedule for the development and construction will be finalized in July.

The land was to be returned to its original owners officially on Apr. 1, but the Okinawa Defense Bureau has suspended the return while it removes the still standing old U.S. military residential houses and surveys the land for unexploded ordnance and possible contamination, and removes them as needed, meaning the actual return of the land to the owners will take place two and half to three years later. In addition, there are some historical sites that need to be safeguarded and surveyed.

The reversion ceremony for the area will take place on Apr. 4th with Japanese and U.S. Government officials and local public attending.

  • HappyGaijin

    This is great! Return some of the land (granted to the U.S. by Mainland Japan) to the Okinawans, and open up excellent opportunities for commerce, healthcare, education, and of course, real estate. Seems like the way to go, BUT, I wonder how much ill-tempered planning is going into the development of that space.

    Forgive my pessimism, but in general, people are not the most pleasant organisms.

    A medical facility really does sound cool, especially with our new hospital being so close – many partnership possibilities are abound. The high school though? I am sure flight plans of military aircraft will have to be changed to steer way clear of that. The houses and apartments being built, are they for Okinawans (typically the poorest Japanese citizens of all) or two be rented at crazy prices to Americans? End rant.

    • Aluminum Fax

      Driving by there over the past 6 years, yes it is time to give that land back. The bad thing is that a large portion is hillside so construction of anything worthwhile is going to be tough. Hopefully the engineers can come up with a good plan. It would be nice if there were a road that cut from 81 to 58 through this land as well.

  • Tomamii

    Im sure there is still a lot burried ( Hello Agent Orange) spoilt there – thats why Okinawa Defense Bureau need a time to cover up, hide so no bad press comes to the Abe Govt.

    • Aluminum Fax

      This Tomamii individual has the most cynical view of everything that goes on in her world.

  • Scott Bodkin

    I used to live in Futenma Housing… right on the top of the hill that was just inside the base’s perimeter (off of Route 330, if I am not mistaken). Some of the coolest military quarters ever assigned in my opinion (I had a view of the HUGE Ferris Wheel at American Village at night). That said, I am glad that the land was given back and is going to be used for medical and educational purposes.

    Semper Fi!
    Scott

    • Matt Yonker

      I lived in that housing area also back in 92-95 – great view of the ocean from one of the playgrounds that I used to take my toddler kids to.

  • T.J. Taylor

    Hello,
    I drew the boundary for the Land return back in 2013, as the Planner for the US Side, I am happy it is finally happening. Its a beautiful area.