Japanese Government to start repair work on MCAS Futenma
The U.S. Government has long demanded that the Japanese government begins repair work on MCAS Futenma, where reportedly the runway and helicopter hangars are in bad shape. The U.S. says that the aging facilities could put the safe operation and performance of the air station at risk.
The Japanese Government is now reportedly considering starting some major repair work within this year. However, officials are wary that starting costly repairs could incite more anger among local public that would rather see the facility closed and the land returned. A survey to identify the facilities in the direst need of repair is slated to start shortly.
The Marines’ air station is supposed to be moved to a new facility in Henoko according to an agreement signed in 1996, but the construction of the replacement facility has been mired in a fight between the central and Okinawa governments almost from the get go. The prefecture wants to kick the whole facility out of the prefecture altogether.
Officials at the Defense Ministry insist that they intend to keep the repair work to a bare minimum and stress that the work is done to ensure the safety of operations and not to keep the base open indefinitely.
There have been only five repair projects on MCAS Futenma since the 1996 agreement to repair power lines and drainage and sewer systems on the base. The Japanese Government will pay for any repair costs as a part of the host-nation financial support for U.S. forces stationed in Japan.