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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 June 13 - 19  > U.S. demands more than 100 facilities be newly built or improved at Iwakuni base
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2007 June 13 - 19 [US FORCES]

U.S. demands more than 100 facilities be newly built or improved at Iwakuni base

June 17, 2007
As part of the planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the U.S. wants more than 100 facilities to be newly built or improved at the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Taking advantage of the Japan-U.S. agreement that Japan will pay for U.S. military realignment costs, the U.S. forces want to have Japan construct as many new facilities as possible.

This fact was revealed in a base maintenance plan (called the “master plan”) written by the headquarters of the U.S. forces in Japan, the outline of which was released by the Japanese government on May 17.

With the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, 57 U.S. carrier-borne aircraft and about 3,800 personnel and their family members will be relocated from the U.S. Atsugi Naval Air Station in Kanagawa Prefecture to Iwakuni along with 12 KC-130 midair refueling aircraft and about 350 personnel from the U.S. Futenma Air Station in Okinawa.

U.S. requests for renovation of the Iwakuni base include operation facilities and aprons to be used by relocated units, billets for unmarried personnel, schools, leisure facilities, storehouses, fuel depots, and munitions depots.

With the relocation of runways offshore, the Japanese government already spent 240 billion yen to strengthen the functions of the Iwakuni base. The realignment will force the government to spend an additional hundreds of billions of yen.

About 50 U.S. aircraft and 6,000 personnel and their family members are now stationed at the Iwakuni base.

With implementation of the realignment scheme, the number of aircraft, combined with Maritime SDF aircraft, will surpass 130, and the base population will reach more than 10,000.

Iwakuni City and its residents are opposing the relocation of the carrier-borne aircraft unit because they are concerned about an increase in noise pollution and crime.

The government is trying to impose the realignment plan on the municipality concerned by using government subsidies as a lever, but Iwakuni City Mayor Ihara Katsusuke has not changed his policy of rejecting the plan.
- Akahata, June 17, 2007
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