Another 174 landowners join the already more than 4000 who will not renew their contracts for U.S. military use

August 30, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Lease contracts between the Government and local landowners providing their land for military use will expire on May 14, 2012. One hundred and seventy four landowners with land on 17 facilities who agreed to enter into a contract with the government the previous time round, in 1992, have refused to sign this time. The combined total land area of their property amounts to 426998 square meters (308 hitsu numbers).

The refusal by landowners to enter into a contract will be a first for six facilities of the Okuma Rest Center, Camp Schwab, Kin Blue Beach Training Area, Camp Courtney, Camp McTureous and White Beach. There were no rejections of contract offers the previous time in 1992.

On August 29, the Okinawa Defense Bureau announced that the Defense Minister approved the procedures for the use of this land for 17 facilities based on the Special Land Lease. A total of 3832 landowners have not responded to requests to lease their lands for military use and the Defense Minister has moved to carry out the procedure in these cases. With 174 new landowners rejecting the contracts, the number of landowners who do not confirm their approval will reach about 4000 with their land area totaling 72 hectares.

With regard to the reasons why the landowners have not yet responded to approaches on contracts, a spokesperson for the Bureau stated, “There are several reasons for this, such as that some people just want to have it returned, or they want to use the land by themselves, and some are motivated by political reasons.”

According to the Bureau, most of the lease contracts for private or publically owned land used by U.S. Forces in Okinawa will expire on May 14, 2012.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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