NAHA – Value of three reclamation work areas to construct a US army base in Okinawa Prefecture soared 60 p.c to 41.6 billion yen ($ 383.7 million) in simply two years and a half for the reason that order was given.

The Ministry of Protection saved altering the contract with out holding open tenders for the extra work.

Quite a few different obscure elements emerged all through the mission, together with plans to make use of taxpayer {dollars} to construct a bowling alley and dance corridor, The Asahi Shimbun has discovered.

The brand new US base off the Henoko District in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, will take over the capabilities of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, additionally within the prefecture.

A assessment of contract paperwork and investigations with the Division of Protection discovered that the prices of reclamation work elevated for 3 sections within the sea space simply south of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab.

A consortium of a big common contractor and building corporations from Okinawa landed the contract for the reclamation work for 25.9 billion yen when the ministry issued an open tender in February 2018.

On the finish of September 2020, nevertheless, three adjustments had been made to the contract for the primary part and 5 adjustments every for the second and third sections, which triggered the prices of the reclamation work to skyrocket.

Decomposed, the prices elevated: from 11.88 billion yen to fifteen.47 billion for the primary part; from 7.9 billion yen to 12.74 billion yen for the second part; and from 6.93 billion yen to 13.82 billion yen for the third part.

Work started in December 2018 and round 892,000 cubic meters of soil, or 4.3% of the full, had been dumped into the sections by the top of January this 12 months.

The ministry’s Okinawa Protection Workplace lists the landfill mission on its web site, however it solely lists the unique contract quantity.

Though paperwork from the Okinawa Protection Workplace confirmed the contract adjustments, the data didn’t present detailed causes for the adjustments, merely mentioning “coordination plans”, “detailed verification” and “adjustments within the course of”. planning”.

In response to Asahi Shimbun’s inquiries for extra info, the ministry stated the contract adjustments relate to altering the tactic of transporting landfill supplies, transferring tools to guard in opposition to typhoons. and modification of the non permanent drainage channel.

He stated the adjustments had been made resulting from circumstances throughout the ministry, and he additionally defended the small quantity of knowledge obtainable on his web site, calling the disclosure “applicable”.

The general estimated price of transferring the Futenma Air Station to the brand new base has climbed to 930 billion yen, about 2.7 occasions the unique determine, in response to a revised projection launched in late 2019.

Certainly, elements of the seabed space for the reclamation mission have been discovered to be mushy.

Requested about the potential of an extra improve in spending, a ministry official stated, “We are going to attempt to make sure correct execution of the funds and preserve prices down.”

Hiroshi Arikawa, former commissioner of the Board of Audit and visiting professor of public coverage at Nihon College, criticized the ministry for not pushing for value competitiveness and transparency in public works initiatives.

“What’s the level of holding a young within the first place if the ministry permits contractors to obtain extra funds with out further tenders every time the contract is modified?” he stated. “The ministry ought to a minimum of proactively disclose the small print of the adjustments and the rationale for it.”

Arikawa warned that general prices will proceed to rise except a full investigation into the present state is performed.

The central authorities had spent round 123.3 billion yen on landfill work as of March 2020. And 30% was used for safety across the web site.

Okinawa Prefecture is house to 70% of U.S. army installations in Japan, and locals and politicians have lengthy complained about accidents and crimes arising from the bases.

They’re fiercely against the relocation of the Futenma base throughout the prefecture and have continuously organized demonstrations close to the development web site.

The ministry awarded a 38.6 billion yen contract to a safety firm to maintain protesters at bay since July 2014, a each day expenditure of 18.5 million yen.

The federal government estimates that the general safety prices will quantity to 170 billion yen by the top of the resettlement mission.

Kyoji Yanagisawa, former deputy chief cupboard secretary for nationwide safety and disaster administration between 2004 and 2009, questioned the knowledge of pushing for this unpopular mission.

“It’s crucial to get an understanding from the general public relating to the development of a protection facility,” he stated. “I’ve by no means heard of a public works mission that requires practically 200 billion yen for safety alone.”

Yanagisawa additionally identified that injecting practically 1 trillion yen into the relocation mission and spending greater than 12 years on the brand new base might show to be a reckless funding because the US army is reviewing its international technique.

“It’s doable that the necessity for the bottom will disappear,” he stated. “Pursuing the mission, above all, goes in opposition to the widespread sense of the federal government.”

One other questionable a part of the relocation mission is that it contains 75 billion yen for Camp Schwab realignment work. Among the many amenities supplied are a swimming pool, gymnasium, bowling alley and dance corridor for US army personnel.

The federal government has supplied host nation help to the U.S. army since 1979 to assist cowl housing and welfare amenities in Japan.

However authorities coverage now’s to chop funding for extremely leisure amenities, in response to the ministry’s web site.

Hiromori Maedomari, professor of nationwide safety at Okinawa Worldwide College, referred to as on the Food regimen and the Audit Committee to assessment the resettlement plan.

“The prices of the Henoko mission embody cash allocations which can be unlikely to be permitted beneath the identify of host nation help,” he stated.

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