To secure a more suitable home for the U.S. military’s Field Carrier Landing Practice, the Japanese government has reached an agreement to buy an uninhabited island in Kagoshima Prefecture.
Government sources said the agreed-upon price with the island’s landowner is 16 billion yen ($147 million).
An official contract will be signed this spring between the central government and Taston Airport, a Tokyo-based development company, which owns 99 percent of the island.
The small island of Mageshima, which covers roughly 8 square kilometers, falls under the jurisdiction of Nishinoomote, a city located on Tanegashima island in the East China Sea. Tanegashima island is about 12 km east of Mageshima.
Iwojima island, located about 1,250 kilometers south of Tokyo, has tentatively been used for the FCLP while the search continued for a regular training site.
The exercise, which involves U.S. carrier-based aircraft practicing takeoffs and landings, was originally held at U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture, but neighboring residents complained about the noise.
The Defense Ministry first offered 4.5 billion yen for the island, which was the appraised value of the land, but the landowner demanded more than 40 billion yen.
The central government reached the agreement after negotiating the 16 billion yen sale price as the United States had asked Japan to secure an alternative practice site as soon as possible.