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Japan announces new policy on U.S. Marines transfer

(Xinhua)

08:53, February 09, 2012

TOKYO, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Japan and the United States have reached an agreement on transferring the U.S. Marines station to the U.S. territory of Guam from the southeast island of Okinawa, separated from the relocation plan of Futenma U.S. Marines airbase in Okinawa, the Japanese government said Wednesday.

The two governments issued a joint communique later Wednesday, saying that the transfer of the U.S. Marines station will be the first step, and the plan of building a replacement facility on the coast of Nago for the U.S. Marines will not change, and that it's the only way to solve the problem that has long been an irritant in bilateral ties.

Japan and the United States have already agreed to move 4,700 of the roughly 8,000 Marines in Okinawa to Guam, the remaining 3, 300 Marines will be transferred to elsewhere in the Pacific, but not yet decided.

The two countries are also discussing the possibility of returning some military facilities and land occupied by the U.S. in the south of the U.S. Kadena airbase in Okinawa to Japan, before relocating the Futenma airbase.

The U.S. bases have been long blamed for generating noise and pollution by many residents on the sub-tropical island, who refuse to accept the plan to shift the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to another part of the island.

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