Japanese cost for Iwakuni housing expansion estimated at $817 million
Housing for a planned expansion of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni will cost the Japanese government at least 70 billion yen, or about $817 million, the Kyodo news service reported Sunday.
The estimated amount would be used to build about 1,060 homes for U.S. servicemembers who are scheduled to arrive with a carrier-based air wing around 2014, Kyodo said.
The air wing move, from Naval Air Station Atsugi near Tokyo, to Iwakuni, near Hiroshima, is part of a 2006 agreement the U.S. and Japan reached to realign forces.
The agreement also would see the move of 8,600 Okinawa Marines to Guam and relocating Marine Corps Air Station Futenma elsewhere on Okinawa — a relocation plan that has stirred bitter controversy between Okinawa leaders and the national government.
Iwakuni plans, however, also are not without some opposition. Japan’s Ministry of Defense was in Iwakuni earlier this month trying to gain support from local government officials for the new military housing. But the Yamaguchi Prefecture government is balking at selling the land to the ministry due to public concern over hosting the U.S. on land once slated for Japanese residential housing, Kyodo reported.
The ministry wants to build 270 units on Mount Atago, which was partially leveled for landfill to build a new runway at the Marine base, according to the news service.
A Japanese public housing project was planned on Atago but that failed, leaving the city and prefecture governments 24 billion yen in debt, Kyodo reported.