U.S., Japan May Announce Readjustment in Relocation Timeline

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2011 — There will prob­a­bly be a read­just­ment of the time­line for relo­ca­tion of U.S. troops in Japan, said senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials speak­ing in advance of the U.S.-Japan Secu­ri­ty Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tee Meet­ing tomor­row.
The offi­cials, speak­ing on back­ground, would not get ahead of any announce­ment from what is infor­mal­ly called the 2+2 meet­ing, but did imply there will be a delay.

“It does not take a math prodi­gy to look at the cal­en­dar, look at the orig­i­nal time­lines that were laid out, look at the progress that has been made and make a deter­mi­na­tion about what can and can­not be com­plet­ed by 2014,” a senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said. “I think you can expect to see com­ing out of the meet­ing tomor­row a read­just­ment of the time­line going for­ward in a way that is more real­is­tic and in a way that will allow us to achieve our joint and mutu­al goals.”

Japan­ese For­eign Min­is­ter Takea­ki Mat­sumo­to and Defense Min­is­ter Toshi­mi Kitaza­wa will meet with Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton and Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates at the State Depart­ment tomor­row for the first 2+2 meet­ing since 2007. The pur­pose of the meet­ing is to under­score the strength and vibran­cy of the alliance and its role as the cor­ner­stone of sta­bil­i­ty in the region.

The meet­ing has addi­tion­al sig­nif­i­cance com­ing so soon after the triple dis­as­ters of March 11 — the earth­quake, tsuna­mi and nuclear sit­u­a­tion. “We’ve emerged from the tragedy of March 11 stronger and more vital,” an offi­cial said.

The offi­cials expect the joint state­ment at the con­clu­sion of the 2+2 will reaf­firm the U.S. com­mit­ment to a robust force pos­ture in East Asia and will update the com­mon strate­gic objec­tives for the alliance. It also will include a blue­print to strength­en the bilat­er­al alliance and out­line alliance coop­er­a­tion in a region­al and glob­al set­ting.

“The dis­cus­sions will focus on a wide range of region­al and glob­al issues includ­ing the denu­cleariza­tion of the Kore­an penin­su­la, Afghanistan, mis­sile defense tech­nol­o­gy trans­fer and the realign­ment of our forces, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Oki­nawa,” a senior admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial said.

The 2+2 will rein­force the val­ue of U.S. for­ward pres­ence in Japan, includ­ing on Oki­nawa, an offi­cial said. U.S. for­ward-deployed pres­ence serves as a crit­i­cal ele­ment of the nation’s treaty com­mit­ment to defend Japan and to con­tribute to peace and secu­ri­ty in East Asia, as well as the over­all U.S. defense pos­ture as a res­i­dent Pacif­ic pow­er.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment remains com­mit­ted to the cur­rent plan to main­tain a for­ward pres­ence in the region “that is geo­graph­i­cal­ly dis­trib­uted, oper­a­tional­ly resilient and polit­i­cal­ly sus­tain­able,” the offi­cial said.

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

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