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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No Longer "Relocation" - An Idea of a Massive Artificial Island with Three Runways over 3,000 metres もう「移設」とはとても呼べない

Ryukyu Shimpo, on March 16, reported some details of the plan to build a massive artificial island off Katsuren Peninsula.

Unbelievable. As Miyagi Yasuhiro said, how can we call this "Futenma relocation site" any more?

The area to be reclaimed East of Hikashima Island is said to be 1,021 hectares. It is going to accommodate not only USMC (as "relocation" of Futenma Air Station) but also Air Self Defense Force (as relocation of ASDF Naha Base) and the US military port facilities (also relocation of Naha military port).

In the plan, there will be three runways to be built - one 3,000 meter, and two 3,600 meter ones. Bridges will be built from that artificial island to Hamahika Island and Miyagi Island.

Medoruma Shun sharply criticizes this "outrageous" plan makes no military sense. Osprey(V-22) and helicopters (the kind of aircrafts that were planned to be based in the V-shape Henoko runway plan) do not need such long runways. He wonders if there is a plan to base B52.

The plan was suggested by Ota Norio, Chair of Okinawa Chamber of Commerce to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano and Defense Minister Kitazawa. The same concept was embraced in 2005 by Robert Eldridge, who taught at Osaka University back then. Now Eldridge is Deputy G-5, U.S. Marine Corps Bases of Okinawa. Eldridge has also been meeting with Hirano to explain this possibility.

According to Medoruma, Ota has been endorsing the plan to build a base off Katsuren Peninsula. Medoruma suspects that Ota wants to expand the reclamation area to increase the construction costs for the benefit of related businesses. He also points out that in the March 13 edition of Rykyu Shimpo, Kokuba Koichiro, Supreme Advisor of the Terrace Hotel contributed an article promoting the reclamation project. He has previously assumed positions like President of Kokuba Construction and President of the association of Okinawa's construction companies. He is also known to be endorsing a plan to introduce a casino to Okinawa. "Those industries are becoming active around this plan," Medoruma warns.

琉球新報 3月16日






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