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Tori Island will be returned to Japan

Date Posted: 2010-04-01

A tiny island 28 miles north of Kume Island, off Okinawa’s west coast is going to be returned to Japanese control.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary has made the announcement that the uninhabited island 50 kilometers from Okinawa’s main island will be handed back, adding he’s also going to ask for more. “I will bring this case to the Americans and ask about the return of all of the shooting range in the area,” said Hirofumi Hirano. He noted the Tori Island case has no links to the Futenma dispute, so anticipated no problems. As for the return of the rest of the shooting range target area, Hirano says he’ll pursue it.

Tori Island has long been used as an American military aircraft shooting range, Torishima Firing Range. It gained some notoriety in the 1990’s after it was discovered that U.S. Marine Corps Harriers had fired some 1,520 armor piercing incendiary shells made from depleted uranium during exercises from December 1995 to January 1996.

Local residents at Kume Island are excited about the return of Torishima, noting there are many good fishing spots that can be promoted.

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