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U.S. proposes to keep Marine Aircraft Wing in Okinawa

Date Posted: 2012-03-23

The 1st Marine Air Wing now based on Okinawa will stay, if the U.S. government has its way.

The U.S. has sounded out Tokyo about the possibility of keeping the air wing her after its earlier proposal to transfer it to a U.S. base in western Japan was rejected. At bilateral talks on the realignment of U.S. bases in Japan earlier this year, Washington raised the possibility of transferring the 1,500-strong aircraft wing to a base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture but after the Japanese government rejected the idea, Washington decided that keeping the Marines in Okinawa is the second-best option,

.While the U.S. military realignment road map agreed between the two countries in 2006 included an agreement to transfer the Marine aircraft wing to Guam, Japan is continuing to emphasize that relocation outside Japan would reduce burdens on the people of Okinawa. The issue is thought to have been on the agenda at high-level talks of foreign and defense officials of the two countries held this past week.

In their negotiations so far, Tokyo and Washington have basically agreed to relocate outside Japan an infantry unit of the 3rd Marine Division headquartered in Uruma City. Discussions are believed to be continuing over the relocation site and the size of transfer.

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