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Old 12-03-2019, 11:12 AM
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Arrow How much does an island cost? Japan may soon buy one for US Navy training.

How much does an island cost? Japan may soon buy one for US Navy training.
BY: Mike Yeo - Defense News - 12-3-19

MELBOURNE, Australia — Japan is nearing an agreement to purchase a privately owned island for use as a training ground for U.S. military aircraft based in Japan, potentially ending a sometimes torturous process that began nearly a decade ago.

Quoting “several government sources” as well as those from the company that owns the island of Mageshima, the Asahi Shimbun reported Nov. 30 that an agreement for the sale was “close to completion.”

The price for ownership of the uninhabited island, which measures roughly 3 square miles, was reported to be $146 million.

Photo link of the island in question:

Japan moved to purchase the island following an agreement reached in 2011 with the U.S. military to provide a training site for Japan-based U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft to conduct landing training operations.

Previously, such training operations were conducted at Iwo-to, more commonly known as Iwo Jima, in the Bonin group of islands, located in the Pacific Ocean and more than 700 miles from the U.S. Navy’s Japanese bases at Atsugi and Iwakuni.

Japan’s Defense Ministry also reportedly plans to build facilities for its forces on the island, which will make it easier to defend its southern islands that also include Okinawa and the disputed Senkaku islands, which are claimed by China.

The latest report comes after an earlier agreement for the sale of the island reached in January was scuppered when a new president took over the helm of Taston Airport, the Tokyo-based development company that owns 99 percent of Mageshima.

The Japanese government valued the island at $60 million, 10 percent of Taston Airport’s valuation. Negotiations were broken off in May and only restarted in November as the island’s owners faced financial difficulties, according to Asahi Shimbun.

The Japanese newspaper also reported that the new purchase price was reached after taking into account money spent by the company to improve the island, which is part of the Osumi group of islands and is located 18 miles from the southern tip of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

According to satellite images, Mageshima currently has two dirt runways measuring 2.6-by-1.4 miles. These will, however, require resurfacing, and other supporting infrastructure must be built on the island before it could be used for its intended purpose.

The Asahi Shimbun also reported that the local government of Nishinoomote city, which owns the remaining 1 percent of the island and has jurisdiction over Mageshima, previously “expressed a cautious stance toward such military training.”


Personal note: I got to thinking about this small island base. Here are the statistics of that island:

The island is of volcanic origin, and has an area of approximately 8.2 square kilometres (3.2 sq mi) with a circumference of 16.5 kilometres (10.3 mi). The highest elevations on the island is Takenokoshi (岳之越), with a height of 71.7 metres (235 ft) above sea level in the center of the island.
Archipelago: Ōsumi Islands
Highest elevation: 71.7 m (235.2 ft) (WOW!!) Pretty low?
Area: 8.2 km2 (3.2 sq mi)
Location: East China Sea

Note: WEATHER IN THAT AREA: An average of about 11 typhoons approach Japan every year. An average of three, excluding those that hit Okinawa and other islands, make landfall. The most devastating typhoon since World War II was the Isewan Typhoon, which hit the Tokai region in September 1959.


Note: On average, 10.1 named storms occur each season, with an average of 5.9 becoming hurricanes and 2.5 becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The most active season was 2005, during which 28 tropical cyclones formed, of which a record 15 became hurricanes.

What is typhoon season in Japan?

The Typhoon season in Japan takes place between June to October. July and August are the months most prone to typhoons in Japan. Typhoon season can affect your Japanese travel plans.

From May to October every year, Japan gets hit by typhoons that bring torrential rains and fast and strong winds. It is especially bad in the months of August and September, which are the peak of the typhoon season. On average, Japan is impacted by about 11 of the 26 typhoons that form in the Pacific each year.


I hope the USN realizes that weather is a key factor in that area - as well as any USN assets in that area or on that island - could be subjected to heavy damage and costly repairs. Who will picks up the tab for repairs - (USN & the Japanese) - so this could be a major problem for them both having to fund any and all repairs from major yearly storm damage. Could be a very costly project based on the weather conditions and the low island elevation?

Just thought I'd point that out. I'm sure the Brass know this as well. This is one place I wouldn't want to be stationed (isolation plus!!!). The fishing will most likely be pretty good though I'm sure Jaw's is also around quite a bit.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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