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Japan to cover $6.1 billion to move troops

Date Posted: 2006-04-28

The defense chiefs for Japan and the United States have settled the differences on who will pay what for moving 8,000 Marines off Okinawa.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Japanese Defense Minister Fukushiro Nukago agreed early this week that Japan will provide 59% of the $10.3 billion in troop relocation costs for Marines to go to Guam. Japan has offered to pay $2.8 billion, with the balance of the $6.1 billion to be in the form of loans to the U.S. “We’ve done what we both feel is in the best interests of our two countries,” Rumsfeld said after the deal was concluded.

Nukaga says he and Rumsfeld agree the American-Japanese alliance is important both for Japan and the region. “I had not expected such an agreement was possible,” Nukaga said, noting that dozens of meetings had left the two countries disagreeing on many key points. He said the solution was meeting with Rumsfeld.

The U.S. wanted Japan to shoulder 75% of the movement costs, but opposition at home put renewed pressures on the Japanese government. While Japanese citizens wanted the troops out, they said via referendums and polls they didn’t think it fair for Japan to have to pay for it.

There are 50,000 American troops in Japan as part of a mutual security pact. That number includes more than 10,000 Marines, most of them based in Okinawa. Roughly 8,000 of those troops, including III Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters and the 3rd Marine Division, will relocate to Guam along with logistics and aviation assets.

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