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Part of the U.S. Navy’s Koshiba Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants Depot in Yokohama was handed over to Japanese control Wednesday, a Defense Facilities Administration Agency official confirmed.

A Yokohama Defense Facilities Administration Bureau official delivered a signed document to the U.S. Navy, and about 100 keys used at the depot were turned over to Japanese authorities at the site that afternoon, he said.

In October, U.S. military and Japanese government officials agreed to return by year’s end approximately 130 acres of land and part of a restricted water area of just more than 11 acres. The remaining 104 acres of water area will be renamed and the conditions of its use altered to accommodate U.S. ships, the agreement states.

“The agency had been requesting the U.S. side to hand over the facility after receiving a number of requests by Yokohama city,” a DFAA statement read. “We understand that it was returned because the U.S. side considered circumstances involving it.”

U.S. Forces Japan officials had no new details or comment about the transfer on Thursday.

The DFAA official said there are no immediate plans for the facility. But a Yokohama city committee, which is discussing future use of facilities being returned by the Navy, has proposed the site be converted into a nature park.

“The agency will listen to Yokohama city’s plans in using the site and will do its best to hand it over as soon as possible,” the official said.

In September 2004, the two governments agreed to return part of the depot and five other Navy facilities in Yokohama in exchange for 700 additional units at the Ikego Housing Area outside Yokosuka Naval Base. The facilities to be returned include Fukaya Communication Site, Tomioka Storage Area and part of the Kamiseya Communication Station, as well as parts of the Ikego Housing Area and Navy Annex in Yokohama. Kamiseya’s housing and support facilities won’t be returned until their use has been exhausted. USFJ officials have said the Negishi Dependent Housing Area will be returned after more housing and support facilities at Ikego are constructed.

Vince Little contributed to this report.

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