|03-18-2006, 09:21 PM||#1 (permalink)|
MSgt USMC Ret
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Diego
U.S., Japan agree on relocation costs
TOKYO — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday that Tokyo is ready to shoulder part of the cost to relocate thousands of Marines from a southern Japanese island to Guam as part of a U.S. military realignment plan.
Koizumi did not specify the amount but said Japan’s contribution is to help relieve some of Okinawa’s burden of hosting most of 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan.
“In order to reduce Okinawa’s burden with U.S. military bases, Japan is ready to shoulder the cost to a certain extent,” Koizumi told a parliamentary budget committee. “We will further negotiate to determine the amount.”
Japanese media have reported that the United States has asked Japan to cover 75 percent of the estimated $7.6 billion needed for the partial relocation of the Marines. But Koizumi refused to specify the figures.
“The United States has presented its views, but Japan has its own, and we plan to convey that,” he added.
Residents near the troop installations, particularly on Okinawa, have long opposed their presence citing the crowding, noise and crime associated with the bases.
In 1995, an uproar over the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. servicemen on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa triggered massive protests and led to the relocation of an air base to a less densely populated part of the prefecture.
“Reduction of the U.S. Marines (on Okinawa) has been a desperate hope of the Okinawan people. As (Japan’s payment) contributes to a large reduction of Okinawa’s burdens, it would be desirable to achieve the relocation as quickly as possible,” Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga was quoted by Kyodo News agency as telling the parliamentary committee.
The unprecedented spending for another country’s military would require a parliamentary approval via a special law.
Tokyo and Washington concluded an interim agreement on the realignment, and a final pact is due at the end of March.
But the plan has raised local opposition.
Iwakuni, in southern Japan, solidly rejected the proposal in a plebiscite on Sunday, and the mayor urged Tokyo on Thursday to scrap the plan.
The proposal would transfer some 7,000 Marines from Okinawa to the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and require the construction of a runway in another part of the island.
It would also boost troop numbers and upgrade facilities at a U.S. Army base south of Tokyo, and move the air wing from the carrier Kitty Hawk, now based near Zama at Atsugi city, to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.
American troops have been stationed in Japan since the end of World War II in 1945.
|agree, costs, japan, relocation|
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