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U.S. and Japan sign agreement to reduce the U.S. presence in Okinawa

posted on: Apr 5 2013 19:0 by RDugey. Viewed 3386 times.

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United States and Japan today announced a new plan to reduce the U.S. presence on the Japanese island of Okinawa and ensure at the same time a minimum of personnel that will ensure the operational effectiveness in the region.

The plan, presented today in Tokyo, is a key step in the implementation of the realignment route sheet to be presented in 2006, said the Department of Defense.

It details all the steps necessary for the consolidation of U.S. forces in Okinawa and the deadlines for the progressive return of more than 1,000 hectares currently used by U.S. troops.

"United States and Japan have reached a new and important milestone in our efforts to ensure a presence of US forces.UU. "robust and operational efficiency in the region, while reducing our presence on the island of Okinawa", said the Secretary of Defense of United States.UU, Chuck Hagel, in a reported.

The plan contemplates the "immediate return", once completed certain procedures, certain facilities and areas in Okinawa, said Hagel.

United States will subsequently return additional locations once replacement facilities be built and has been relocated a "considerable contingent" of the body of Marines from U.S. forces.UU. on the bases of Guam and Hawaii.

Access to the northern part of the service area in Makiminato, at Camp Kinser, could be returned this year and some parts of Camp Foster area west of Futenma and the area near the door the Makiminato service area five, next year.

However, according to forecasts by the Pentagon, the delivery of some Territories could take up to 15 years, as it is the case of the Naha port (2028), Camp Lester (2025) and parts of Camp Foster (2024).

The Secretary of Defence thanked the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, his "personal leadership" and his work on this plan, which has required months of close cooperation between top leaders of the two countries, as well as the armed forces.

The US Department of Defense.UU. and the Japan Ministry of Defense will work to implement the plan, said Hagel, and resolve the relocation of Futenma air base, in the city of Ginowan (Okinawa), that the plan calls for 2022 or 'later'.

The Futenma base, which is about 480 hectares, is located in the heart of the city and completely surrounded by dwellings and public buildings, which for years has generated protests by its citizens.

"Now more than ever, it is essential that United States remains a geographically distributed and sustainable force across Asia that you can provide for the protection of Japan and our other allies, and the interests of the United States", said the Secretary.

"We are determined to focus our bilateral efforts on the modernization of the Alliance to meet the new challenges of security in the region," added Hagel in a moment in which the threats of Korea of the North against its neighbor to the South, Japan and United States have intensified.

United States has about 40,000 soldiers in Japan as part of a deal agreed in 1960, 15 years after the Japanese defeat in World War II.

In April 2012, the two countries signed a joint agreement on the realignment of US forces in Japan, by the United States.UU. pledged to move some 9,000 US Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa to other areas outside of Japan, but within Asia-Pacific.

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