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Japan to construct deluxe residences for U.S. Marines neglecting to care for homelessness at home

U.S. Marines to be transferred from Okinawa to Guam will have the privilege to live in luxury houses to be built with Japan's tax money. Each house will be 234 square meters and have four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

This plan was made clear in response to a question by Japanese Communist Party representative Inoue Satoshi in the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting on March 19.

In September last year, it was revealed that the U.S. plans to construct 3,520 housing units (excluding 3,800 housing units for bachelors) using 2.55 billion dollars in Japanese tax money for the U.S. Marines and their families on Guam.

Inoue stated, "It is a first internationally that a country is forced to pay the cost for constructing U.S. military facilities on U.S. territory. Today, an increasing number of working people in Japan are losing their places to live after being laid off. How can the government squander tax money this way?"

Inoue showed a U.S. Department of Defense directive "Unified Facilities Criteria" on details of the construction of facilities for U.S. forces overseas. The size of each house is determined according to officers' ranks: 309 square meters will be allotted to Brig. Gen., 234 square meters with four bedrooms to a colonel, and 125 square meters to even the lowest ranking.

It went so far as to argue that the main bedroom shall have a king-size bed.

As housing-related facilities, the directive says each of 150 houses will have access to a tennis court and each of 100 houses a basket ball court, and that an open athletic field with about 400 square meters be available for each of 100 or 200 houses.

Asked by Inoue if Japan will pay for these additional facilities, Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu stated that the matter is being discussed with the U.S., suggesting that Japan may possibly be forced to pay for all these facilities.

The Japan-U.S. agreement concluded last February concerning the implementation of the relocation of the III Marine Expeditionary Force personnel and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam refers to the huge amount in cost and Japan's portion of payment as follows: Japan will provide six billion, ninety million dollars to enable the III MEF relocation.

Inoue stressed, "While the government is asking for Diet approval of the Japan-U.S. agreement on Marine Corps relocation to Guam, it showed us no cost estimate that needs to be discussed. How can the government convince the general public to use their tax money for the sake of another nation?"

The JCP lawmaker demanded that the government submit the estimation standard related to the agreement before the committee moves to approve.

- Akahata, March 20, 2009

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