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Iwakuni unfreezes land needed for U.S. housing

Date Posted: 2012-03-30

Land earmarked for construction of new American military housing near Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station has been unfrozen by the Yamaguchi Prefectural Government.

The 75 hectares of land will now be sold to the central government for approximately •16.9 billion. The sale had been in doubt after the local Iwakuni government and Yamaguchi Prefecture Governor Sekinari Nii put a freeze on the sale after talk surfaced about more U.S. troops being deployed to Iwakuni.

Japan and the United States decided in 2006 to move 59 carrier-based aircraft from the U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture to Iwakuni, along with a dozen aerial refueling tankers moving from Futenma Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa in 2014. Those moves would involve relocating some 4,000 military personnel and their dependents to Iwakuni.

The discussions of moving Okinawa-based Marines to Iwakuni riled the prefecture and Iwakuni City, prompting a freeze on any land sales to the central government. With Tokyo now having promised to drop any such plan, Nii says the dealís back on.

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