Yonaguni municipal government signs land lease contract with Ministry of Defense

April 1, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 31, Yonaguni town officially leased its land to the Ministry of Defense. The Japanese government plans to station a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force coastal surveillance unit on Yonaguni Island. On April 19, the government will the groundbreaking ceremony. However, many people from the town are opposing the plan. The signing of this contract may trigger a protest.

Part of the land was previously leased to the agricultural company Minami Farm, as well as other individuals, but when the agreement expired, the town officially leased the land to the Ministry of Defense.

A portion of private land at the site was not included in the lease but the government expects to contract all land after April.

According to town officials, the ministry will lease about 25 hectares of land, including about 21.4 hectares of municipal land. In 2014 fiscal year, after clearing the lands, the ministry will begin building a radar installation, housing for the Self-Defense Forces personnel, and a public athletics track and field and gym. The ministry will pay the local government about 15 million yen every year in rent. The managing expenses for the facilities development will be about 15.5 billion yen. The ministry visited the town government office on March 31 and confirmed the contents of the contract.

It plans to complete the unit by the end of the fiscal 2015. However, there is a concern that stationing military units on Yonaguni will irritate China which has claimed sovereignty over the nearby Senkaku islands.

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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