New Army development squeezes Okinawa farmers — and breaks a promise, they say

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Farmer Kunio Ikehara, 75, walks the perimeter of his sugarcane field at Torii Station on Okinawa with an Army communication facility visible in the background. The Army has told Ikehara that he, along with 460 other farmers, will soon lose some of their farm land to make way for new military construction projects. (Photo by Travis J. Tritten/Stars and Stripes)
From Stripes.com
Farmer Kunio Ikehara, 75, walks the perimeter of his sugarcane field at Torii Station on Okinawa with an Army communication facility visible in the background. The Army has told Ikehara that he, along with 460 other farmers, will soon lose some of their farm land to make way for new military construction projects. (Photo by Travis J. Tritten/Stars and Stripes)

New Army development squeezes Okinawa farmers — and breaks a promise, they say

by: Travis J. Tritten and Chiyomi Sumida | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: July 03, 2013

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Shouts and laughter from an Army recreation beach drift over Kunio Ikehara’s cane field. Out past the swaying leaves are a military parking lot and a helicopter pad.

The 75-year-old is used to sharing his land with the U.S. military. He is among 460 farmers who till sun-shot fields inside the fences of Torii Station, a sleepy seaside Army base in central Okinawa.

The Army has allowed the surrounding community to continue farming on most of the base since it took control of the land and relocated owners after World War II. But that long-standing arrangement may be shifting with new development plans.