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Elephant Cage land to be returned to owners

Date Posted: 2006-10-19

The Sobe Communications Area in Yomitan Village is being dismantled, with plans to return the land to its original owners is coming soon.

A new facility to replace the Elephant Cage has been constructed on Camp Hansen, with construction completed last month. The construction project began in March 1998, with a budget of Y24 billion.

Much of the system has been complete for months, but software glitches in a computer system have delayed its becoming operational. Japan and the U.S. are working to iron out problems between the joint use computer system.

One land owner has already reclaimed his land. Shoichi Chibana had his property returned in July, on the day the law permitting its use by the American military expired. For the more than 120 other property owners, the return is coming soon.

The return is being greeted with mixed emotions. On the one hand, having their ancestral property returned is a positive thing, but many are already complaining they’ll be poorer because they won’t be receiving rental payments for the land.

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