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Guam relocation costs included in Japan’s 2009 Defense Budget

Date Posted: 2008-09-05

The Ministry of Defense has identified requirements totaling ¥4,841,900,000,000 to support Okinawa-related expenses in the coming year.

A realignment within the Ministry of Defense, including establishing a new office complex near Kadena Air Base, and preliminary planning for the upcoming relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam account for part of the 2.2% budget increase from this year. The Defense Ministry’s Okinawa branch offices will be shifted to Kadena Town, complete with surveillance cameras on the building roof.

The new complex will be headquarters to the team working out details of the planned 2014 shift of some 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. Defense Ministry officials say its personnel will work closely with the U.S. military, which recently completed its transformation requirements for both personnel and assets, including installations on Okinawa. The new Defense facilities will include the command office building and a housing area for its personnel.

Realignment of facilities and land used by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force brigade accounts for ¥2.5 billion in the upcoming budget, while ¥160.8 billion, an increase of 1.7%, is being budgeted for Okinawa related expenses. The Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) budget is set at ¥18 billion.

Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, often at the center of controversy on U.S. military operations on Okinawa, had ¥208 million budgeted this year for flight research expenses. Officials say they’re not certain exactly how much will be allocated to the helicopter flight monitoring project next year, noting Ginowan City has not yet approved plans. Research on Kadena Air Base operations has been set at ¥14 million for the new budget year.

Transferring Awase Golf Course from U.S. military to Japanese control next year will cost taxpayers ¥4.2 billion. Much of that cost relates to construction expenses. A new type ground approach control radar, FPS-5’s, will cost ¥20.2 billion for maintenance, while costs for expressway tolls on U.S. military vehicles are budgeted at ¥185 million.

The only budget category seeing a decline for next year is on salaries for base workers. The costs for Japanese workers on American installations will fall 0.8% to ¥46.7 billion.

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