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Japan wants some Okinawa military installations returned

Date Posted: 2012-02-10

With new plans for dealing with Marines based on Okinawa changing seemingly hourly, Japan on Monday wasted no time in getting its request in to Washington asking that the United States return some of its military facilities in Okinawa at an early date.

Japanese planners discussing the latest round of bilateral talks on the realignment of U.S. Marines in the Asia-Pacific region noted that removing the Marines from Okinawa would lessen the requirements for the United States to continue holding Japanese land now being used by American troops here. The request is for land to be turned back to Japanese control without any ties to the ongoing discussions about moving Futenma Marine Corps Air Station.

The request to return part of Camp Zukeran and Makiminato Service Area was made in connection with a U.S. plan to move about 4,700 Marines now in Okinawa Prefecture to Guam. The Japanese decision was made despite there being no decisions about relocating the controversial Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City in central Okinawa to a sparsely populated area in the islandís northeast. Under the existing bilateral accord, the return of six facilities and land occupied by the U.S. military south of the Air Force's Kadena base in Okinawa is tied to the relocation of the Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.

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