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Landowners complain after only part of Zukeran return

Date Posted: 2007-02-10

Nine months after Camp Zukeran land was returned to Okinawa landowners, the landowners are complaining of unfair treatment.

Ginowan City Military Land Owners Association Chairman Seizen Hanashiro is asking “What did we fight for? It was ten years, and we followed the SACO agreement and kept the promises.” The agreement called for 83 hectares of land to be returned, including 55 hectares to Ginowan City and 23 hectares to Okinawa City.

Only part of the lands have been returned, with the stalemate of relocating Futenma Marine Corps Air Station being cited as a reason for the delay. Land rental fees for a single year in this Zukeran area total ¥670,000,000, but Hanashiro says pending environmental charges in connection with the land return will cost them ¥10,800,000,000. He’s asking the government who will pay these fees after the military returns the bulk of their lands.

Neither the U.S. military or Japanese government have offered an answer, and Ginowan City’s reorganization section chief, Keigo Wada, says “we’ve asked for answers but have yet to hear anything yet.” The Zukeran area covers a total of 642 hectares of land including Kitanakagusuku, Okinawa City, Ginowan City and Chatan Town.

Kitanakagusuku is asking the prefecture and the state to allow use of the military road running along the base side, but again, they’ve received no response. Village Mayor Kunio Arakaki is complaining “between Kishaba and Zukeran’s road being cut now, we have a fence between the roads. It doesn’t make us feel good, so tell us why we can’t use the other side, too.”

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