Okinawa makes first-ever request to end shared use of dams, citing no U.S. military training there in 30 years

there in 30 years

November 11, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

At a meeting with Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki requested an end to shared use by Japan and the U.S. of the Fukuji Dam inside the U.S. military’s Northern Training Area and the Kanna Dam inside the U.S. military’s Camp Hansen.

This marks the first time that the Okinawa prefectural government has officially made a request to the national government to end shared use of a dam.

Pollution issues have arisen involving U.S. military munitions and bullets being discovered at dams in the shared use areas.

Residents also expressed concerns about water source contamination when a U.S. military CH53E large transport helicopter crashed on civilian land in Takae, Higashi Village in October of last year, as the site of the accident was close to the residents’ water source.

That accident was one impetus spurring Governor Tamaki’s present request.


According to a prefectural government source, no military training has been conducted at the dams in question since 1988.

However, the U.S. military is still permitted shared use of the dams.

If shared use ceases to be permitted, the U.S. military will no longer be allowed to train freely in these areas.


“[These dams] are an important water source for Okinawa’s main island. We hope the national government will respond by ending shared use so that Okinawans can use our water with peace of mind,” said Vice Governor Kiichi Jahana, who also attended the meeting.


(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)


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