US military returns 51-hectare housing area at Camp Zukeran

US military returns 51-hectare housing area at Camp Zukeran

The U.S. military returned a 51-hectare housing area at Camp Zukeran, Ginowan on March 31.

April 1, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 31, the U.S. military returned to Japan a 51-hectare housing area at Camp Zukeran (West Futenma Housing area) in Ginowan. This is part of a 2013 agreement between the governments of the two countries to reduce the U.S. military presence south of Kadena airbase. It is the second land return under the agreement, following the handover of 1 hectare in the Makiminato Service Area in August 2013.

The Okinawa Defense Bureau will start to remove buildings and carry out a soil pollution survey on the returned land in April. It’s expected to take years before the land is actually handed back to its owners. Ginowan City Municipal Government says it will make its plan for the returned land by July. The council is currently working with the landowners and the central and prefectural governments to gain a consensus about how the area should be used. There are plans to move Ryukyu University Hospital to the site and build a heavy particle radiotherapy facility for cancer treatment there.

The Ginowan City Military Landowners’ Association revised its bylaw at an extraordinary meeting held on March 31, to allow the 537 landowners affected by the return of the site to remain members. The association will negotiate on behalf of the landowners regarding the price of the land.

Shinich Matayoshi, the president of the association, said, “We would like to convey the wishes of the landowners to the other stakeholders.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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