555.6 billion yen paid towards the maintenance and repair of U.S. military facilities in Okinawa

March 13, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

With regard to the omoiyari yosan, the financial burden that Japan pays towards the cost of U.S. forces stationed on its territory, for the 33 years from fiscal 1979 to 2011, the number of cases in which the Ministry of Defense carried out maintenance and repair works for U.S. military facilities in Okinawa amounted to 4020, and the cost reached 555.643 billion yen. These numbers were revealed in documents that Ryukyu Shimpo acquired from the ministry on March 12.

The number of cases involving the maintenance and repair works for military family housing amounted to 3465, accounting for about 90% of the total and the costs reached 132.652 billion yen.

The total floor area for each military dwelling is about 150 square meters, about twice the total area for a detached house in Okinawa, which is 75.9 square meters on average (from statistics provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2008).

The Ministry of Defense implemented maintenance and repair work for 24 U.S. military facilities in Okinawa, including Kadena Air Base, Camp Kinser and Futenma Air Station. The ministry carried out maintenance and repair works for a wide variety of facilities, including those related to military operation support such as parking areas, hangars and the others related to daily life such as hospitals, schools and banks.

According to the ministry, there are two types of military family housing for which maintenance and repair work are carried out. Those with a total area of about 145 square meters have three bedrooms and the others with a total housing area of about 157 square meters, which have four bedrooms. Although the construction cost for each dwelling has not been revealed, excluding the cost of the land, the total cost of constructing the housing is estimated to be 45 to 50 million yen.

A representative of the Facilities Improvement Program Division of the ministry said, “We have decided the area and scale for U.S. military facilities in Okinawa on which maintenance and repair works are carried out, in keeping with the standard set by the United States to make the Japan-U.S. alliance effective. Although we have been carrying out the necessary work to maintain the alliance, we have also been striving to reduce expenses. We would like to utilize technologies such as photovoltaic power generation to make savings.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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