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Issue # 1401      4 March 2009

Japan to give US US$6 billion to move US Marines

Japan has formally pledged to contribute US$6 billion to pay for the cost of relocating a part of US Marine Corps contingent currently stationed in Okinawa to US Guam in the South Pacific.

On February 18, Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed an agreement on the implementation of the plan of the relocation to be completed by 2014.

At a press conference after the signing ceremony, Clinton stated that the agreement “enshrines our two nations’ shared contributions in carrying out the realignment of our forces and the relocation of marines from Okinawa to Guam.”

Under the agreement, Japan will pay US$6.1 billion (60 percent of the total cost for the relocation), including US$2.8 billion in cash.

The agreement states that the transfer of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam “is dependent on: (1) tangible progress toward completion of the Futenma Replacement Facility, and (2) Japan’s financial contributions to fund the development and construction of required facilities and infrastructure on Guam.”

Under the agreement, Japan is also called upon to implement the plan to construct a new US base in Nago City’s Henoko district as an alternative facility of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo called for a struggle to block the ratification by the Diet of the Japan-US relocation agreement.

At a press conference Shii said that the agreement signed on February 17 by Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will force Japanese citizens to shoulder enormous additional burdens.

Shii pointed out that the United States is moving some Marines out of Okinawa on condition that Japan will build a new base off the Henoko district of Nago City for the US Marines as the substitute for the USMC Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City. He criticised the government for accepting the strengthening and perpetuation of US bases in Okinawa in disregard of residents’ opposition.

He also condemned the government for agreeing to pay for part of the relocation of as another condition for the relocation, stating, “It is extraordinary that the Japanese government uses taxpayers’ money to construct a military base in a foreign country.

“It does not seem that the US Obama administration wants to ‘change’ the basic policy on Japan-US relations, as it is sticking to maintaining the military alliance with Japan and forcing the Japanese people to pay the cost,” Shii added.

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