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Defense Ministry shuts down Its scandal ridden DFAA

Date Posted: 2007-09-06

After 60 years as the Japanese government’s liaison between it and American Forces in the country, corruption and scandal has brought down the Defense Facilities Administration Agency.
The DFAA had been the primary coordinator on all contract operations with U.S. troops since its predecessor began operating as the Occupation Forces Procurement Agency in 1947. It formally began work under the DFAA title to procure land and facilities across the country for both Japanese Self Defense Forces and the American military.
Government officials years ago first began questioning contract irregularities within the agency, but it took an event nearly two years ago, in which two high level DFAA officials and a former DFAA officer were caught rigging bids to sway contracts with both electronics and construction firms. The three were arrested, convicted and jailed.
The decision to disband the agency came after intense study of DFAA files showed such bid-rigging to be much the norm, or even a custom, involving ex-DFAA officers subsequently hired by the very firms bidding on government contracts. The DFAA officially closed its doors at the Defense Ministry over the weekend, and its functions absorbed within the Defense Ministry.
One project involving the DFAA lingers, mired in controversy. The replacement airfield in northern Okinawa, designed to replace the controversial Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan City, is hung up in a combination of environmental, economic and political challenges. The new airfield is linked to a deal made between Japan and the United States to move nearly 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. Costs of the airfield, and the relocation of U.S. Marines, will come from the Defense Ministry’s budgets.

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