A worker looks out at Oura Bay near Camp Schwab, Okinawa, in September 2022.

A worker looks out at Oura Bay near Camp Schwab, Okinawa, in September 2022. (Stars and Stripes)

A contractor discovered what appears to be a human bone while surveying a construction site near Camp Schwab, a Marine Corps base on Okinawa, according to the Okinawa Defense Bureau.

The contractor, who was working for the defense bureau, found the bone on the afternoon of March 21, a bureau spokesman told Stars and Stripes by phone Tuesday.

The contractor reported the discovery to Okinawa Prefectural Police, the spokesman said. He declined to provide further details, such as the size of the bone or where it was found, citing a police investigation.

Some government spokespeople in Japan are required to speak to the media only on condition of anonymity.

The site is part of an area where the Marines are building an airfield to replace Marine Corps Air Station Futenma farther south on the island, but it is not under the Marines’ control.

“The location was an [Okinawa Defense Bureau] Exclusive Zone that is part of the Futenma Replacement Facility construction and not controlled by the U.S. Military,” Marine Corps Installations Pacific spokesman Capt. Brett Dornhege-Lazaroff told Stars and Stripes by email Tuesday.

Construction of Camp Schwab began in 1957 on a hill that was the site of a World War II refugee camp for civilian evacuees, and was completed in 1959, according to a 2012 report by the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

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Jonathan Snyder is a reporter at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Most of his career was spent as an aerial combat photojournalist with the 3rd Combat Camera Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is also a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program and Eddie Adams Workshop alumnus.
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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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