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Special bombs clean-up fund to be created

Date Posted: 2009-02-18

Reacting to a pair of January explosions from wartime ordnance, the central government has announced plans to establish a 1 billion fund to rid Okinawa of an estimated 2,500 tons of World War II bombs, mines and shells.

Takeo Kawamura, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, says removing the numerous tons of buried, corroded munitions will be a long term project that could take nearly 100 years to accomplish. The fund set up was devised following two potentially deadly explosions at construction sites last month. One heavy equipment operator whose mechanical shovel touched off an explosion was killed. There were no other injuries.

Kawamura says the fund will provide equipment to conduct thorough magnetic surveys to locate ordnance and prevent explosions. Other money will be earmarked for condolence payments to victims of explosion damage.

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