The U.S. Congress this week excluded funds to cover a planned transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam from its fiscal 2012 defense spending bill.
However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Tuesday that this will not change the Japanese government's policy on the planned transfer of the Futenma air base to Nago City’s Henoko area, NHK reported.
Japan has already paid the U.S. about 80 billion yen to help fund the transfer of the Marines.
Fujimura said the decision by the U.S. Congress will not affect Japan's budget for fiscal 2012. The government will proceed with the plan agreed in 2006 by both governments in order to ease the U.S. military burden on Okinawa. He also said that the government will go ahead with its plan to submit to Okinawa Prefecture an environment assessment report for the proposed Futenma relocation by the year-end, NHK reported.
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 has 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.
After the decision was announced, U.S. President Barack Obama -- who must sign the bill -- warned that the action could be harmful to bilateral relations, AP reported.© Japan Today