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Tomon wants to sign only one-year Awase contract extension with U.S.

Date Posted: 2007-09-07

A partnership contract between Okinawa City and the United States military for the Awase Telecommunications Site expires Saturday, and now renewal has yet been agreed to.

Okinawa City’s anti-military mayor, Mitsuko Tomon, has proposed a single year contract extension for the site, which extends across 500 meters of waterfront in an area where controversial land reclamation operations are going on for Nakagusu Bay. Opposition groups are demanding an end to the reclamation, and are protesting the offer of a contract extension.

Awase Telecommunications Site was created by joint contract with Okinawa City and the U.S. military in 1999, and has twice been renewed. Approval of a new contract would permit landfill operations to continue, and an Okinawa City official says “we need to us the land together because of the reclamation work. It needs to be done smoothly and quickly. To be successful, we need to do the job together.”

The military has not responded to Tomon’s contract overture, a silence she suspects is because it wants more than a one-year contract. “If they don’t answer,” she says, “I’m not going to renew longer than that. As everyone knows, I’m against the military and I want them to go away from Okinawa.”

Tomon says she won’t change her stance, and she’ll “concern myself what to do later” if the military rejects the one-year contract offer. The contract has always included land reclamation and the American military’s land use authority.

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