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Japan asked to cover 75% of base relocation costs

Date Posted: 2006-03-24

Moving 8,000 US Marines off Okinawa won’t be cheap, and the United States is asking Japan to pick up the tab for 75% of those expenses.

The US wants Japan to cover about three-quarters of the estimated $10 billion Y1,18 trillion) cost that will be incurred with moving the Marines from Okinawa to Guam, beginning in the next year or so. Only two months ago, the projected cost was just under $8 billion (Y900 billion), but the U.S. sweetened the proposal by including plans for constructing new facilities on Guam for Japan’s Air Self Defense Force.

Base construction costs for new Marine facilities are pegged at $8 billion, with $2 billion more required to increase infrastructure, including port facilities. Marines on Okinawa now use ports at Kin and Naha to stage its personnel and equipment for movement.

An American Defense Department official called the 75% payment by Japan ‘reasonable’, noting U.S. policy of defending Japan will not change after the Marines leave Okinawa. The idea of having a training base for JASDF personnel on Guam is intended to strengthen the Japanese military, but some observers question whether the current Japanese constitution would permit it. Special exceptions are now made to allow Japanese Self Defense Forces to participate in overseas ventures, such as providing refueling support for allied war vessels in the Indian Ocean, and in Iraq.

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