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DFAB says Naval Hospital will relocate as planned

Date Posted: 2003-07-05

Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau (DFAB), Director General Takumi Okazaki says the relocation of the Naval Hospital from Camp Lester to Futenma Housing Area within Camp Foster will proceed as planned.

Okazaki said during a regular press conference that moving the hospital is "a measure necessary for the return of the southern portion of Camp Lester." He explained that the former Ginowan City Mayor had accepted the facility in July 2000, and had given the DFAB a letter with the official Ginowan Mayor's seal on it. "I will exercise my utmost efforts to explain the background of this decision to (Ginowan City) Mayor Iha," Okazaki said.

The current Ginowan City Mayor, Yoichi Iha, had thrown the question of moving the hospital in confusion when he announced that he would not accept the facility's relocation within his city. He said the move would contribute to the permanent nature of the existence of the bases in Okinawa, something that he is adamantly opposing.

Talking about Ishikawa City Mayor Soken Hirakawa's announcement that he would be happy to invite the facility to Ishikawa City during the City Assembly regular meeting, Okazaki stated, "I know about his offer only through media, but the relocation of the hospital to the Futenma Housing Area is currently underway in accordance with the Special Actions Committee for Okinawa (SACO) final agreement. The basic plan is currently being formulated under the premise to relocate the USNH to the Futenma Housing Area. The U.S. side is preparing its request concerning the size and design of the building, the number of beds and other details. Considering all this there is no reason to consider changing the relocation site to Ishikawa City."

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