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Replacing a local VFW post stirs controversy

Date Posted: 2011-02-18

A Veterans of Foreign Wars post located in a small house behind the housing towers on Camp Kinser is stirring uneasiness as to why the military and Urasoe City have agreed to build a replacement facility at the cityユs expense.
The current VFW post is located on a piece of coastal land surrounded by a massive coastal landfill project and road construction, Nishikaigan, or West Coast Development project. The U.S. military and Urasoe City have agreed to build an alternative facility, with the city picking up the エ65 million construction tab.
Controversy is swirling because thereユs talk the new facility would be more than a simple VFW post intended for use by members who are military veterans, but reports reaching the city suggested the military might be considering making it a community service center. The military has denied the allegation, saying メwe are not going to divert this facility to another use.モ
Thatユs not good enough for the Socialist Party House of Representatives Member Kantoku Teruya, whoユs asking why Urasoe City, or Japanese taxpayers in general, should pay for the project. He is threatening to take up the issue in the Diet. Questions have also been raised that VFW members donユt necessarily fall under the Status of Forces Agreement, and because of that, Japan has no obligation to pay for replacing the old facility.
メIf there is no diversion, we want to promote any development that will benefit the city,モ says Mayor Gima.  Some people are suggesting thereユs more to the story than is being told. They say they believe itユs all a scheme for the military to create a new community center at no cost to the United States, using the return of military-use land as the bait.
The VFW building, aside from not being SOFA property, is said to be used only a few times each month, and thatユs another source of uneasiness about Urasoe City money being used to pay for the new building.

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