Part of Camp Hansen to be returned to Okinawa
Officials at Okinawa Defense Bureau have reportedly informed Nago City that a 55-hectare parcel of city-owned land now belonging to Camp Hansen in Kouki, Nago City, would be returned to the city this month at the earliest. The transfer was agreed to in the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee, and it’s a part of a 162-hectare piece of land, of which the rest will be returned later.
The to-be-returned city land is a slope, which lies across the borders of Kise, Kyoda, and Kouki districts facing East China Sea. The Committee agreed that the land would be returned in two steps – 55 hectares in Kouki at the end of June 2014, and 107ha within Kise and Kyoda at the end of June 2017. Nago City and the three districts have asked the Okinawa Defense Bureau to delay the return, as the slope is too steep to use.
Kyoda and Kise wards submitted the request for Camp Hansen to continue to use the land with a statement of their intention to accept the move of MCAS Futenma to Henoko. Kouki ward opposes the Henoko move, and submitted the request of the delay separately.
Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine, said that returning the land in two steps would confuse the local communities. Kouki ward claims that it’s a kind of harassment to make a difference between the wards that agree with the national policy, and the wards that do not.
Harushi Miyagi, the chief of the Kouki ward reportedly said that, “With helicopters detouring and Osprey aircraft flying over residential areas even after 10 p.m., it will not comfort the residents even if we can get our land back.