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Lands around bases being purchased by government

Date Posted: 2009-06-18

Plots of land surrounding U.S. military bases are being purchased by the Japanese government to protect citizens from noise pollution.

Key zones targeted by the government are in Kadena and Chatan Towns, both of which wrap around the sprawling U.S. Kadena Air Base. More than 87,538 square meters of land in the two towns has already been bought up from private landowners and will be developed as green zones, open spaces or public parks.

The government says the move is essential to protecting citizens from the loud sounds emanating from the base. Its efforts in Kadena Town are in the Yara and Kaneku areas, while Sunabe and Miyagi areas are the focus at Chatan Town. The Okinawa Self Defense Agency says the plan is to create community or sports places, including golf.

Residents living in the noise pollution zones may move away, with the Japanese government paying the costs and compensation. Kadena Town’s mayor understands, but says “I would like the residents to stay here, and not move away.” Tokujitsu Miyagi says “I know the area is very noise, and I can’t say strongly to tell them to stay.” Kadena Town’s total land mass is 83% covered by Kadena Air Base.

Miyagi says he doesn’t hold out “any hope for the states own land, and how to use it for the residents right now. I am just apprehensive about the residents who move away. The government has purchased more than 90 plots of land since the project began in 1994.

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