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Okinawa to say good-bye to 8,600 troops

Date Posted: 2012-04-27

After years of back-and-forth give-and-take between Japan and the United States, nearly 9,000 Marines will be finding new homes as part of an agreement between the two governments.

The deal finally solidified by the two government calls for 8,600 U.S. Marines to vacate facilities on Okinawa in the near future, an expedited timetable established after the relocation of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to northern Okinawa was de-linked from the troop moves. The agreements were acknowledged and confirmed during a vice ministerial meeting within the past week.

The moves come in the wake of a parallel series of discussions to expedite return of U.S. military facilities and land back to Japanese control. If all goes as according to the latest agreement, the United States will return most of the warehouse areas at the Makiminato supply camp in Urasoe City, known now as Camp Kinser, as well as Camp Kuwae in Chatan, known as Camp Lester, and Naha Military Port in Naha. Officials confirm the three locations will be returned, giving in to an Okinawa Prefectural Government request that they not be connected to the troop moves.

Current U.S. plans are for 4,000 Marines to relocate to Guam, 2,600 to Hawaii, 1,200 to Australia, and another 800 to the U.S. mainland. The departure of 8,600 will reduce the 19,500 Marines strength to 10,900. The latest figure is 900 more Marines remaining here than has been agreed to by the two governments.

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