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Chatan landowners protest end to special payments

Date Posted: 2007-09-04

Chatan Town landowners have been receiving special government subsidies for property once a U.S. base, but those monies end this month and they’re not happy.
They’ve been receiving payments on their land, once the U.S. Army’s Camp Kuwae, even though the Americans returned the base in 2003. The payments stop September 30th, but landowners argue the former Camp Kuwae’s land pollution and unexploded munitions slowed opportunities for their property to be redeveloped. They also cite the construction plan of the West Coast route through Chatan, near Highway 58, that impacts them.
The landowners contend that since the government work has been delayed and extended, so should their payments. Kiyomatsu Takami is one of 301 landowners affected. “Because of ground pollution, we can’t use our land yet,” says Tamaki, who’s asking “When can we use it. The state should know our pain.” The landowners now receive more than ¥400 million in payments.
The Prefecture says “it will be very difficult to extend the term” of the special payments beyond the current expiration date. The Defense Facility Agency had cut 2008 funding from its Okinawa expenses list.

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