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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 March 13 - 19  > Cost to purchase island for US flight drill swells fourfold to 16 billion yen
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2019 March 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Cost to purchase island for US flight drill swells fourfold to 16 billion yen

March 19, 2019

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Nihi Sohei on March 18 at a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting grilled the government about the cost of purchasing a remote island as a site for U.S. military drills, saying that the cost has increased to 16 billion yen, nearly four times higher than the initial estimate.

The Defense Ministry plans to buy the uninhabited island of Mageshima in Kagoshima Prefecture from the island owner, Tokyo-based development company Taston Airport, as a site for the planned transfer there of field carrier landing practice (FCLP) by U.S. carrier-based aircraft.

JCP Nihi referred to a news report which states that the ministry made with Taston Airport a provisional contract to purchase the island at the price of 16 billion yen. Pointing out that the government has insisted that the amount of money needed for the purchase is 4.5 billion yen, Nihi demanded a ministry explanation regarding the news report. Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi rejected the JCP lawmaker’s demand, saying, “The purchase negotiations are still under way.”

Nihi next brought up a remark which the State Minister of Defense Harada Kenji made at a subcommittee meeting of the Upper House Budget Committee on February 27. Commenting on the fact that a revolving mortgage which allows a maximum amount of 14 billion yen to be borrowed is established for the island, Harada indicated the possibility that the ministry will buy the island even though it is under mortgage.

In response to Nihi asking about Harada's comment, the Defense Minister refuted what Harada said.

Nihi cited that the assembly of Nishinoomote City, which administers Mageshima Island, in February adopted a statement demanding that the central government not go ahead with finalizing a deal without obtaining local consent. Nihi said, “Local residents and municipalities oppose the planned purchase. The Abe government should stop pushing forward with the negotiation with the island owner.”

Past related article:
> JCP urges Defense Ministry to cancel planned relocation of FCLP to Mageshima Island [January 23, 2019]
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