A decision has been made for the U.S. to return part of Naval Air Facility Atsugi (which straddles the cities of Yamato and Ayase) to Japan on Sept. 30. The land measures some 13,000 square meters and has been in disuse since 1998.
About 70% of the land to be returned is owned by the Japanese government and the remaining 30% by private citizens. Briefings were given to the landowners from July 11-25. Since there are structures still standing there at present, the land will be handed over to the owners after the government removes the structures, including old railway tracks.
The schedule for the actual handover has yet to be determined. Until the handover takes place, the government will pay the owners a “special administration fee” equivalent to the rent they have been receiving so far. There are about 20 landowners, and the government paid 27 million yen in rent to them last fiscal year.
The Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on the return of this tract of land on June 30. (Abridged)