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National officials discuss troop transition

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The United States and Japan released a joint statement about the plans on the full realignment of U.S. Marines in our region. According to the statement, the U.S. reiterated its commitment to Japan's security. In turn, Japan reconfirmed its commitment to playing a positive role in contributing to the peace and stability of the region.

The Japan Security Consultative Committee recognized that the forward presence of military forces in Japan provides deterrence and capabilities necessary for the defense in Japan. These members expressed shared commitments to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and return the base to Japan as part of the alliance transformation and realignment process. It also reaffirmed that, as provided for in the Guam Agreement of February 17, 2009, that the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam is dependent on tangible progress toward the completion of the replacement facility.

It will realize the consolidation and return of most of the facilities south of Kadena. Both sides confirmed the intention to locate the facility at Camp Henoko and adjacent waters, with the runway portion of the facility to be 1,800 meters long, inclusive of overruns, exclusive of seawalls. As for training, two sides remain committed to expanding activities outside of Okinawa.

The two have also agreed to collaborate on a "green alliance" to consider ways to introduce renewable energy technology into U.S. bases in Japan and under development in Guam. As for the movement of Marines to Guam, the U.S. side will examine the unit composition of Futenma personnel remaining on Okinawa in the context of overall theater security, to include deterrence.

The details were made in Tokyo by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuya Okada and Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa.

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