U.S., Japan Release Joint Defense Posture Statement

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2012 — The Unit­ed States and Japan have agreed to “delink” two aspects of the planned relo­ca­tion of U.S. forces in Japan, accord­ing to a state­ment released today.

Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary George Lit­tle said the U.S.-Japan joint defense pos­ture state­ment affirms both nations are com­mit­ted to relo­cat­ing Marines with­in Oki­nawa, and also to mov­ing some of those forces to Guam.

“Both sides have agreed to delink the move­ment of Marines to Guam and result­ing land returns south of [Kade­na Air Base, home to the U.S. Air Force’s 18th Wing] from progress on the Futen­ma replace­ment facil­i­ty,” Lit­tle said. “By doing this, we can work the details of and make progress on each effort sep­a­rate­ly, yet we remain ful­ly and equal­ly com­mit­ted to both efforts.”

The two coun­tries are review­ing how to effec­tive­ly work togeth­er to achieve the goals of the 2006 Realign­ment Roadmap and the 2009 Guam Inter­na­tion­al Agree­ment, he added.

The 2006 roadmap signed by Japan and the Unit­ed States would relo­cate Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Futen­ma, now in the cen­ter of Okinawa’s Ginowan City, to a more remote area of the island. Futen­ma is about sev­en miles from Kade­na Air Base. The Guam agree­ment pro­vides for a fur­ther move of 8,000 Marines from Oki­nawa to Guam. Both agree­ments have been the sub­ject of intense pre­fec­tur­al and nation­al polit­i­cal debate in Japan.

Today’s state­ment reads, in part, “We remain com­mit­ted to mit­i­gat­ing the impact of U.S. forces on Oki­nawa, as well as to the con­struc­tion of the Futen­ma replace­ment facil­i­ty at the Camp Schwab Henoko-saki area and adja­cent waters. We believe that the cur­rent Futen­ma replace­ment facil­i­ty plan is the only viable way for­ward.”

Lit­tle not­ed that the Defense Department’s new strate­gic guid­ance empha­sizes the impor­tance of the Asia-Pacif­ic region, and the rebal­anc­ing of U.S. defense pri­or­i­ties toward and with­in the region.

“A crit­i­cal com­po­nent to the suc­cess of this strat­e­gy con­tin­ues to be our pres­ence and mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion with our long­stand­ing ally, Japan,” the press sec­re­tary said.

The two troop move­ments are designed to ease the impact of the Marine pres­ence on the Oki­nawan peo­ple; devel­op Guam as a strate­gic hub with an oper­a­tional Marine Corps pres­ence on Guam; and main­tain a pres­ence in the region that is geo­graph­i­cal­ly dis­trib­uted, oper­a­tional­ly resilient, and polit­i­cal­ly sus­tain­able, he added.

U.S. and Japan­ese offi­cials began two-way work­ing-group dis­cus­sions Feb. 6 for the lat­est round of effort in the ongo­ing troop move­ment plan, and those dis­cus­sions like­ly will con­tin­ue for some time, he said.

“No deci­sions will be announced until the details of the way for­ward are agreed upon by both coun­tries,” Lit­tle added. “There­fore, right now, it’s pre­ma­ture to dis­cuss troop num­bers or spe­cif­ic loca­tions asso­ci­at­ed with the relo­ca­tion of Marines from Oki­nawa.”

The two nations’ alliance is ded­i­cat­ed to Japan’s secu­ri­ty and to main­tain­ing peace and sta­bil­i­ty in the Asia-Pacif­ic region, the press sec­re­tary not­ed, adding that the efforts announced today will con­tin­ue to strength­en that alliance.

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