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US, Japan fail to get deal on troop moves

April 6, 2006

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Japan wrapped
up two days of meetings without concluding a deal on a sweeping
reorganization of 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan and dividing the
cost of moving 8,000 Marines to Guam, the Pentagon said on
Thursday.

“The implementation agreements were not finalized,” said
Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Pentagon spokesman.

Maka said the talks ended on Wednesday and more talks will
take place in the future, but the time and place had not been
decided. He would not indicate whether progress was made.

The two allies reached a broad agreement on the
reorganization plan in October but have been unable to hammer
out the details.

The Japanese and U.S. governments are divided over how much
Japan should pay toward moving 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to
the U.S. territory of Guam, a key part of the reorganization
plan.

The United States has proposed that Japan pay 75 percent of
the $10 billion it estimates is needed to move the Marines.
Japan, with huge state debts, wants to reduce the total cost as
well as its share of the burden and provide at least some of
the funds in the form of loans.

U.S. and Japanese officials have agreed to close the
Marines’ Futenma air base in a crowded part of Okinawa and
replace it with a new base near the rural city of Nago.

The plan faces opposition from locals worried about noise,
crime and the environment, and resentful of Okinawa’s heavy
burden under the U.S.-Japan security alliance.

Japan and the United States missed a March 31 deadline to
wrap up the realignment package, which includes steps to more
closely integrate their forces and is part of Washington’s
effort to transform its military globally to meet modern
threats.

Japan is now turning up the heat on Okinawa to accept the
Futenma relocation plan. But activists vow to block creation of
a new base, which is also opposed by Okinawa’s governor and the
mayor of Nago.


Source: reuters



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