Base housing upgrades to push some Okinawa personnel off base
By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 24, 2017
More military families will live among their Japanese neighbors during a $600 million base-housing upgrade on Okinawa, Marine Corps officials said.
The Air Force’s 18th Wing, which oversees military housing on Japan’s southern island prefecture, will spend the money renovating accommodations over the next five years, a Marine Corps statement said Tuesday.
“Many military family housing units are near the end of service life and require major renovations, while others are due for refurbishment,” Navy Capt. Chad Brooks, assistant chief of staff for the Marine Corps Installations Pacific Facilities Engineer Division, said in the statement.
Recent Inspector General reports have listed significant problems, including mold, radon gas, exposed wiring, faulty smoke detectors and ventilation issues, in Okinawa base housing.
The island hosts about 29,000 U.S. servicemembers, military family members and civilians, with three out of four living on base, the statement said. During the renovations, a third of personnel will live off base.
Those living in on-base homes scheduled for renovation will be notified a year before work starts, giving them time to plan their move, which will be paid for by the military, Brooks said in the statement.
“People should know there are upfront costs associated with moving off base; however, most costs associated with the actual move are reimbursable,” he said.