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Special Action Committee on Okinawa

(SACO) Final Report

2nd December, 1996


The Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) was established in November 1995 by the Governments of Japan and the United States. The two Governments launched the SACO process to reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa and thereby strengthen the Japan-US alliance.

The mandate and guidelines for the SACO process were set forth by the Governments of Japan and the United States at the outset of the joint endeavor. Both sides decided that the SACO would develop recommendations for the Security Consultative committee (SCC) on ways to realign, consolidate and reduce US facilities and areas, and adjust operational procedures of US forces in Okinawa consistent with their respective obligations under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and other related agreements. The work of the SACO was scheduled to conclude after one year.

The SCC which was held on April 15, 1996, approved the SACO Interim Report which included several significant initiatives, and instructed the SACO to complete and recommend plans with concrete implementation schedules by November 1996.

The SACO, together with the Joint Committee, has conducted a series of intensive and detailed discussions and developed concrete plans and measures to implement the recommendations set forth in the Interim Report.

Today, at the SCC, Minister Ikeda, Minister Kyuma, Secretary Perry and Ambassador Mondale approved this SACO Final Report. The plans and measures included in this Final Report, when implemented, will reduce the impact of the activities of US forces on communities in Okinawa. At the same time, these measures will fully maintain the capabilities and readiness of US forces in Japan while addressing security and force protection requirements. Approximately 21 percent of the total acreage of the US facilities and areas in Okinawa excluding joint use facilities and areas (approx. 5,002ha/12,361 acres) will be returned.

Upon approving the Final Report, the members of the SCC welcomed the successful conclusion of the year-long SACO process and underscored their strong resolve to continue joint efforts to ensure steady and prompt implementation of the plans and measures of the SACO Final Report. With this understanding, the SCC designated the Joint Committee as the primary forum for bilateral coordination in the implementation phase, where specific conditions for the completion of each item will be addressed. Coordination with local communities will take place as necessary.

The SCC also reaffirmed the commitment of the two governments to make every endeavor to deal with various issues related to the presence and status of US forces, and to enhance mutual understanding between US forces and local Japanese communities. In this respect, the SCC agreed that efforts to these ends should continue, primarily through coordination at the Joint Committee.

The members of the SCC agreed that the SCC itself and the Security Sub-Committee (SSC) would monitor such coordination at the Joint Committee as described above and provide guidance as appropriate. The SCC also instructed the SSC to seriously address the Okinawa-related issues as one of the most important subjects and regularly report back to the SCC on this subject.

In accordance with the April 1996 Japan-US Joint Declaration on Security, the SCC emphasized the importance of close consultation on the international situation, defense policies and military postures, bilateral policy coordination and efforts towards a more peaceful and stable security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. The SCC instructed the SSC to pursue these goals and to address the Okinawa-related issues at the same time.

Return Land:

- Futenma Air Station - See attached

- Northern Training Area

Return major portion of the Northern Training Area (approx. 3,987ha/9,852 acres) and release US joint use of certain reservoirs (approx. 159ha/393 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 2003 under the following conditions:

Provide land area (approx. 38ha/93 acres) and water area (approx. 121 ha/298 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 1998 in order to ensure access from the remaining Northern Training Area to the ocean.

Relocate helicopter landing zones from the areas to be returned to the remaining Northern Training Area.

-Aha Training Area

Release US joint use of Aha Training Area (approx. 480ha/1,185 acres) and release US joint use of the water area (approx. 7,895ha/19,509 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 1998 after land and water access areas from the Northern Training Area to the ocean are provided.

-Gimbaru Training Area

Return Gimbaru Training Area (approx. 60ha/149 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 1998 after the helicopter landing zone is relocated to Kin Blue Beach Training Area, and the other facilities are relocated to Camp Hansen.

-Sobe Communication Site

Return Sobe Communication Site (approx. 53ha/132 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 2001 after the antenna facilities and associated support facilities are relocated to Camp Hansen.

-Yomitan Auxiliary Airfield

Return Yomitan Auxiliary Airfield (approx. 191ha/471 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 2001 after the parachute drop training is relocated to Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield and Sobe Communication Site is relocated.

-Camp Kuwae

Return most of Camp Kuwae (approx. 99ha/245 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 2008 after the Naval Hospital is relocated to Camp Zukeran and remaining facilities there are relocated to Camp Zukeran or other US facilities and areas in Okinawa.

-Senaha Communication Station

Return Senaha Communication Station (approx. 61ha/151 acres) with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 2001 after the antenna facilities and associated support facilities are relocated to Torii Communication Station. However, the microwave tower portion (approx. 0.1ha/0.3 acres) will be retained.

-Makiminato Service Area

Return land adjacent to Route 58 (approx. 3ha/8 acres) in order to widen the Route, after the facilities which will be affected by the return are relocated within the remaining Makiminato Service Area.

-Naha Port

Jointly continue best efforts to accelerate the return of Naha Port (approx. 57ha/140 acres) in connection to its relocation to the Urasoe Pier area (approx. 35ha/87 acres). -Housing consolidation (Camp Kuwae and Camp Zukeran)

Consolidate US housing areas in Camp Kuwae and Camp Zukeran and return portions of land in housing areas there with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 2008 (approx. 83ha/206 acres at Camp Zukeran; in addition, approx. 35ha/85 acres at Camp Kuwae will be returned through housing consolidation. That land amount is included in the above entry on Camp Kuwae).

Adjust Training and Operational Procedures:

-Artillery live-fire training over Highway 104

Terminate artillery live-fire training over Highway 104, with the exception of artillery firing required in the event of a crisis, after the training is relocated to maneuver areas on the mainland of Japan within Japanese Fiscal Year 1997.

-Parachute drop training

Relocate parachute drop training to Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield.

-Conditioning hikes on public roads

Conditioning hikes on public roads have been terminated.

Implement Noise Reduction Initiatives:

- Aircraft noise abatement countermeasures at Kadena Air Base and Futenma Air Station

Agreements on aircraft noise abatement countermeasures at Kadena Air Base and Futenma Air Station announced by the Joint Committee in March 1996 have been implemented.

-Transfer of KC-130 Hercules aircraft and AV-8 Harrier aircraft

Transfer 12 KC-130 aircraft currently based at Futenma Air Station to Iwakuni Air Base after adequate facilities are provided. Transfer of 14 AV-8 aircraft from Iwakuni Air Base to the United States has been completed.

-Relocation of Navy aircraft and MC-130 operations at Kadena Air Base

Relocate Navy aircraft operations and supporting facilities at Kadena Air Base from the Navy ramp to the other side of the major runways. The implementation schedules for these measures will be decided along with the implementation schedules for the development of additional facilities at Kadena Air Base necessary for the return of Futenma Air Station. Move the MC-130s at Kadena Air Base from the Navy ramp to the northwest corner of the major runways by the end of December 1996.

-Noise reduction baffles at Kadena Air Base

Build new noise reduction baffles at the north side of Kadena Air Base with the intention to finish the process by the end of March 1998.

-Limitation of night flight training operations at Futenma Air Station

Limit night flight training operations at Futenma Air Station to the maximum extent possible, consistent with the operational readiness of US forces.

Improve Status of Forces Agreement Procedures:

-Accident reports

Implement new Joint Committee agreement on procedures to provide investigation reports on US military aircraft accidents announced on December 2, 1996.

In addition, as part of the US forces' good neighbor policy, every effort will be made to insure timely notification of appropriate local officials, as well as the Government of Japan, of all major accidents involving US forces' assets or facilities.

-Public exposure of Joint Committee agreements

Seek greater public exposure of Joint Committee agreements.

-Visits to US facilities and areas

Implement the new procedures for authorizing visits to US facilities and areas announced by the Joint Committee on December 2, 1996.

-Markings on US forces official vehicles

Implement the agreement on measures concerning markings on US forces official vehicles. Numbered plates will be attached to all non-tactical US forces vehicles by January 1997, and to all other US forces vehicles by October 1997.

-Supplemental automobile insurance

Education programs for automobile insurance have been expanded. Additionally, on its own initiative, the US has further elected to have all personnel under the SOFA obtain supplemental auto insurance beginning in January 1997.

-Payment for claims

Make joint efforts to improve payment procedures concerning claims under paragraph 6, Article XVIII of the SOFA in the following manner:

Requests for advance payments will be expeditiously processed and evaluated by both Governments utilizing their respective procedures. Whenever warranted under US laws and regulatory guidance, advance payment will be accomplished as rapidly as possible.

A new system will be introduced by the end of March 1998, by which Japanese authorities will make available to claimants no-interest loans, as appropriate, in advance of the final adjudication of claims by US authorities.

In the past there have been only a very few cases where payment by the US Government did not satisfy the full amount awarded by a final court judgment. Should such a case occur in the future, the Government of Japan will endeavor to make payment to the claimant, as appropriate, in order to address the difference in amount.

-Quarantine procedures

Implement the updated agreement on quarantine procedures announced by the Joint Committee on December 2, 1996.

-Removal of unexploded ordnance in Camp Hansen

Continue to use USMC procedures for removing unexploded ordnance in Camp Hansen, which are equivalent to those applied to ranges of the US forces in the United States.

-Continue efforts to improve the SOFA procedures in the Joint Committee



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