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Henoko wants money in exchange for airfield

Date Posted: 2006-04-21

Henoko residents are figuring it’s better to get money than to fight.

Plans for relocating the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan to Henoko, an area of Nago City, appear to be on track following a deal between Nago’s mayor and the Defense Agency director general. Their deal was struck after the central government agreed to shift the flight patterns and runway angles to avoid local residential areas.

Now, Henoko residents are asking for compensation in exchange for their cooperation and support. “If the government and the Americans build the airport on our coast, we’re asking to be paid ¥150,000,000 per family to cover our lifestyle changes.” They say the money will also protect them in case something happens to their environment.

Director Yasumasa Oshiro proposed the payment scheme, telling government officials “we need the guarantee of life.” The Self Defense Agency disagrees, saying they’ve already struck a deal with Nago City. Private agreements with individuals are prohibited by law, the defense officials say.

There are 460 families affected by the proposed airfield construction, and residents want the money and also a new elementary school constructed with heavy soundproofing materials. Residents are also asking for a new road interchange system and nearly two dozen other financial points of assistance.

Yasumasa Oshiro says the community first began asking for the compensation more than a year ago, and still thinks it is important.

He says it looks “like we will have to accept the heliport on the coast, so we need to get compensation.” He says the Henoko area residents will also be asking every year for additional guarantees of their safety, and for more money to cover potential damages caused by the base.

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