Iwakuni survey to help base expand for thousands of incoming residents
Stars and Stripes May 4, 2008
Thousands of new residents are coming to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and base officials said work will begin this month to make their housing comfortable.
The base’s current servicemembers, spouses and dependents will be surveyed in the coming weeks to find out what they think about housing needs and local support services, said U.S. Navy Lt. Joe Dunaway, who is helping to coordinate the effort.
That information will be used to negotiate with the Japanese government and eventually build the new housing needed to support the U.S.-Japan military realignment plan.
The plan includes the relocation of a carrier-based air wing from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, and an aerial refueling squadron from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa, according to the base public affairs office.
The base population will swell from 5,400 to 10,400 residents by 2014, the public affairs office said.
“This is an opportunity for the community to have input in the future development of the base,” Dunaway said. “We are having significant growth here in Iwakuni, and this is an historic time for the base.”
About 1,100 new housing units likely will be built in the next five to six years by the Japanese government, Dunaway said.
But before the housing is started, the U.S. and Japanese governments must hash out an agreement on what housing facilities will be created and where they will be located, he said.
“It is likely the new housing will be a satellite area, so we are looking at what services we need to push with the Japanese government to provide at this satellite housing area,” Dunaway said.
That’s where the resident housing survey comes in.
The first step will be polling a group of stakeholders — a cross-section of Iwakuni residents — who will help guide the survey topics and questions, according to Dunaway.
Sometime this month, survey letters and e-mails will go out to residents around the base.
“That is so we get a statistically random sample of the community,” Dunaway said.
Any resident will also be able to log onto a Web site and fill out the survey, he said.
The realignment plan also will require other extensive construction including school buildings, roads and hangars, according to the public affairs office.
Those projects must also be hashed out between the Japanese government and U.S. Forces Japan.