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Defense subsidies list drops three municipalities from funding

Date Posted: 2007-09-02

The Defense Ministry has released its subsidy allocations for Japan’s new fiscal year, and three Okinawa communities are miffed at having been stripped of their subsidy status.
Daikichi Kadoma, a member of the Ministry of Defense Council Committee, published the names of cities or towns which will—and will not—receive money in the coming year. Okinawa City, Kadena Town and Chatan Town have been dropped from the list. The three had received subsidies in past years. The subsidy recipients and amounts are based upon how much the communities support the military realignment plan agreed to by Japan and the United States.
The Ministry’s explanation for removing Okinawa City, Kadena Town and Chatan Town from coming year funding is because F-15 fighter aircraft have been moved from Okinawa for training. That, the Ministry says, reduces the burden on residents of the three communities.
Five municipalities—Nago and Urasoe Cities, Kin Town and Ginoza and Onna Villages—are on the list for funding. There’s a catch, though: the communities must agree to accept the facilities to be built in their communities, in order to receive the ten years of funding. The heated issue at this moment is construction of a new airfield at Camp Schwab in northern Okinawa to replace Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan.
Residents and leaders in the three slighted communities are visibly upset, asking ‘why?’
Chatan Town’s mayor, Masaharu Noguni, calls it “a foolish story. The Defense Ministry is making our towns and cities fools. All of us.” He says the central government “Has to pay these municipalities for making noise, or trouble, or whatever else they are doing because of Kadena Air Base.”
Noguni says “We are suffocated by Kadena Air Base. They should know that, and Kadena, Chatan and Okinawa City should get subsidy money too.” He is demanding that “we all should raise our voices to the Defense Agency, without fear, because Kadena Air Base is located in our towns. We can’t promote our towns, or make them more beautiful,” without the money.
A spokesman for the Minister of Defense acknowledges “Sure we are concerned about these three communities, and if they are going to support the state or not.” He says “depending on it (their support)”, the central government will decide how to include them, or keep them excluded if they don’t accept the provisions of the U.S.-Japan agreement.

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