Defense bureau starts removing buildings within Camp Schwab in Henoko to build a new air base

Defense bureau starts removing buildings within Camp Schwab in Henoko to build a new air base

A demolition worker employed by the Okinawa Defense Bureau was taking down buildings by using a heavy machine within U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab, Henoko, Nago, at 1:40 p.m. on July 1.


July 2, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 1, the Okinawa Defense Bureau began bulldozing buildings within Camp Schwab in Henoko, Nago, to construct an alternative facility for the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Prior to demolition work commencing, the defense bureau submitted a notification form with the Okinawa Government Office based on the Okinawa Prefecture Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance on June 30. According to the notification, the construction includes part of the planned airfield and related facilities. The defense bureau has carried out environmental impact assessment research in the sea area and design work for the landfill. However, this is the first time there has been construction work at the planned site.

The defense bureau will submit a notification form with the Okinawa Prefectural Government to start construction in the sea area. It plans to carry out undersea drilling in late July prior to the reclamation taking place. A replacement for the Futenma airfield which is due to close, the runway is a total of about 205 hectares, including a land area of about 45 hectares and a reclamation area of about 160 hectares.

The defense bureau had already begun removing some barracks in Camp Schwab. However, now they have begun demolishing the barracks, medical office buildings and warehouses in an area that is a part of the V-shaped runway planned by the governments of Japan and the United States.

It was agreed at a meeting of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee on June 20 that they would start the demolition operation in order to secure a work yard for temporary storage for revetment blocks and other materials.

This will be a large-scale construction, including removing three buildings, two barracks and one warehouse in an area of about 2,500 square meters within the planned site of V-shaped runway. The construction period for the work yard will be until the end of January next year. It is costing about 93 million yen for the demolition work. The defense bureau plans to start reclamation after it has taken down the old buildings and other facilities to secure a work yard. The completion of all construction projects for an alternative facility for the Futenma base is scheduled for October 31, 2019.

On July 1, Ryukyu Shimpo reporters confirmed that demolition workers were taking down the old facilities within Camp Schwab. A dozen vessels, including guard boats and research vessels employed by the defense bureau and Japan Coast Guard’s boats, patrolled the sea near the planned reclamation site. Residents also took boats out to sea to protest against the construction, but there was no confrontation.

(English translation by T&CT)

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