Japan and the U.S. are discussing a revised plan for the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam as part of a realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan.
But the relocation of the controversial U.S. air base at Futenma will be handled separately, Japanese defense officials said, NHK reported.
The revised plan, which is expected to be formally announced by the Obama administration in Washington around mid-February, would transfer about 4,700 of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, and rotate 4,000 more Marines through Darwin in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii. The plan would leave 10,000 Marines stationed in Okinawa, NHK said.
The current agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan was formulated by the two countries in 2006.
The U.S. Congress in December excluded funds to cover the planned transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam from its fiscal 2012 defense spending bill.
One of the reasons cited by the Armed Services committee of the Senate and House of Representatives for cutting the relocation funds was that it had become unclear if the Futenma air base will actually be relocated. It said local opposition to the relocation makes it difficult to approve the spending.
The committee said the $150 million allocated for construction projects on Guam to shift 8,000 Marines and their dependents from Futenma need not be allocated for fiscal 2012. It also said that the Pentagon should move the functions of the Futenma base to Kadena Air Base, instead of building a new facility at Nago.© Japan Today/AP