Marine Airfield Relocation on Okinawa to Take 16 Years Longer and $5.4 Billion More Than Originally Projected (excerpt)
(Source: Stars and Stripes; published May 29, 2020)
By Matthew M. Burke and Aya Ichihashi
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa --- The Japanese government acknowledged this week that the relocation within Okinawa of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Camp Schwab in the rural north has been impeded by further construction delays and cost overruns.

The project, which had been set for completion in 2014 by bilateral agreement, has been pushed to 2030, a spokesman for the Okinawa Defense Bureau told Stars and Stripes on Friday. The overall cost of the new runway into Oura Bay that will one day facilitate the move has skyrocketed from a 2014 estimate of $3.3 billion to $8.7 billion.

The Defense Bureau, which represents Japan’s Defense Ministry on the island, submitted the updated figures to the prefectural government April 21 along with a request to change the already approved and ongoing project, the spokesman said. The prefecture has up to 223 days to respond.

“We estimate the construction will be finished nine years and three months from the time the Okinawa governor approves the request,” the spokesman said.

Government spokespeople in Japan customarily speak on condition of anonymity as a condition of their employment.

Should Gov. Denny Tamaki, who has been adamantly opposed to the project, deny the request, the case will be headed back to the courts, the spokesman said. Estimates for cost and completion could also go up even further.

The relocation is being funded by the government of Japan. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Stars and Stripes website.


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