Marines to move out of Japan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 18, 2009

Marines to move out of Japan

Hillary signs deal

Hoping to give new momentum to a plan to rework the deployment of US troops in the Pacific, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed an agreement Tuesday with Japan that will move 8,000 Marines off the southern Japanese island of Okinawa to the US territory of Guam.
The framework of the transfer had already been agreed on in 2006, but several major points remain to be worked out, including the location of a base to replace Okinawa's Futenma air station, a major hub for the Marines there.
Officials on both sides have agreed to relocate the operations of the base to another, less crowded part of Okinawa, but local opposition has stalled progress.
"This agreement reflects the commitment we have to modernize our military posture in the Pacific," Clinton said. "It reinforces the core of our alliance the mission to defend Japan against attack and to deter any attack by all necessary means."
Japan's Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone also hailed the agreement.
"We believe this Guam agreement shows the strength of our alliance," he said. "We agreed to work toward the implementation of the 2006 pact in a manner that does not compromise readiness or capability."
There are currently about 13,000 Marines stationed on Okinawa, and 23,000 US troops there overall. They are part of about 50,000 US troops deployed in Japan under a post-World War II mutual security pact.
The cost of the realignment plan has generated intense debate in Japan.
Guam's transformation is expected to cost at least $15 billion and put some of the US military's highest-profile assets within the fences of a vastly improved network of bases. In the pact signed Tuesday, Japan agreed to give Washington $2.8 billion for the transfer costs, though its contribution is expected to go higher.

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