Japan and the United States has agreed in principle on a string of measures concerning the relocation of US troops and facilities in Japan, including moving the headquarters of a Marine force in the Okinawa prefecture to Guam, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.
Under the agreement, the headquarters of the US Marine Corps' III Marine Expeditionary Force will be moved to Guam from Camp Courteny in Okinawa, the Yomiuri Shimbun quoted sources as saying. More than 4,000 Marines and other concerned people are currently stationed at Camp Courteny.
The US side conceded to the relocation on the condition that Japan shoulders the costs of constructing housing and other facilities for the command in Guam.
The two sides also would cut the number of Marines presence of about 18,000 troops by 3,000 to 5,000, the report said.
The reduction "will be a significant and tangible measure," a government source was quoted as saying.
Japan and the United States are engaged in tense negotiations over adjusting the disposition of the US forces in Okinawa among mounting disgruntling from local people about decades of heavy burdens by playing host to the troops. The bulk of the some 40,000 US troops in Japan are located in the prefecture.
The two governments are considering moving some exercises conducted by US F-15 fighters to Air Self-Defense Force's air bases outside the prefecture. Subsequently, the exercises will be conducted as joint drills with the ASDF.
They are working toward finishing an interim report on the US military realignment there by the end of October, but concerned that it would be set back if the negotiation about the relocation of an air base breaks up.
The governments plan to hold high-level talks this week about the relocation of the Futenma Air Station, the daily said.