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Bullets, weapons found at former American base

Date Posted: 2007-02-19

Construction workers clearing land at the former Camp Kuwae in Chatan Cho uncovered old ammunition from the site this week.

Chatan’s mayor Noguni quickly lashed out at the US and Japanese governments, calling the discovery “ridiculous, since such things are happening many times.” He demanded that land be properly cleaned and sanitized before being turned back to local governments, putting it “to its original state”.

Officials say they found 508 rounds of ammunition and an unexploded bomb on the north side of the former U.S. base, which had recently been returned to Japanese control. The bullets were new and unused, and in an ammunition box.

It was found about ten meters from the site where authorities last month found part of a machine gun and a tank. The bullets found this week were 8cm long, boxed in 200-round magazines and loaded for machine gun belts.

The larger shell uncovered was an unexploded round designed for use with a six-inch Navy gun. The shell measured 60cm. It has been taken away by explosive ordnance specialists from the Japanese Self Defense Force.

Camp Kuwae was a large American base in the years when Okinawa was under U.S. military control. Much of it has been returned to Japan, and the remainder of the base is to be returned in several years. Camp Kuwae today is called Camp Lester.

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