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Defense Minister calls Marines’ new Guam housing is ‘extravagant’

Date Posted: 2007-12-11

An American cost estimate for housing 8,000 Okinawa-based Marines in their move to Guam is too high, and Japan’s Defense Minister says there’ll have to be some negotiations.
Shigeru Ishiba has rejected Washington’s estimated $627,800 per house, saying “It’s obviously too high.” Speaking to the Upper House audit committee, the Defense Minister assured them “We’ll have to examine it closely. The U.S. price tag for the required housing is ¥70 million per home, a price Ishiba says is double the cost of building comparable military housing on Okinawa.
Japan agreed last year to share the cost of housing construction costs to move the Marines and their families from Okinawa. “Do we have to provide such extravagant houses by using our tax money?” Ishiba asked the audit committee. Japan told the U.S. it would pay roughly 60% of the $10 billion the U.S. figures will be required in moving the Marines the 1,500 miles from Okinawa to Guam.
The Guam move is part of a series of base realignments the two governments agreed to, including moving Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City to a site at Camp Schwab in northern Okinawa, and moving fighter jets based on aircraft carriers to southwest Japan from the current U.S. Navy base near Tokyo.
Defense Minister Ishiba says the price tag presented by the U.S. is “an asking price” and says he’ll request a cost breakdown for the housing. He hasn’t indicated what he considers a fair price.

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