DOD Committed to Realignment of Forces in Japan

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2011 — The Defense Depart­ment is com­mit­ted to the realign­ment of U.S. forces in Japan, a defense spokesper­son said here yes­ter­day.
“We have long­stand­ing agree­ments with the gov­ern­ment of Japan, includ­ing the 2006 Realign­ment Roadmap and the 28 May 2010 Joint State­ment,” said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull­Ryde, a Pen­ta­gon spokesper­son. “These agree­ments are good for the peo­ple of Oki­nawa, Japan as a whole, and the U.S.-Japan alliance.”

The Pen­ta­gon respond­ed to calls by U.S. Sen­a­tors Carl Levin, John McCain and Jim Webb for DOD to re-exam­ine mil­i­tary bas­ing plans in East Asia. The three sen­a­tors — all on the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee — called the cur­rent plans unre­al­is­tic and expensive. 

The agree­ments — nego­ti­at­ed over many years — describe the link­age between Futen­ma relo­ca­tion, the Marine move to Guam and land returns on Okinawa. 

“The Futen­ma relo­ca­tion plan will return land and facil­i­ties to the Oki­nawan peo­ple and move thou­sands of U.S. troops and their depen­dents out of the most dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed south­ern part of the island to the less-pop­u­lat­ed north,” Hull­Ryde said. “After the relo­ca­tion is com­plet­ed, the aver­age cit­i­zen of Oki­nawa will see and hear far few­er U.S. troops and air­craft than they do today.” 

Com­pli­cat­ing the sit­u­a­tion was the earth­quake and tsuna­mi that struck Japan in March. That dis­as­ter caused the deaths of tens of thou­sands of peo­ple and left hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in damage. 

U.S. and Japan­ese offi­cials are still dis­cussing the details of the relocation. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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