4,700 US Marines to leave Okinawa, Japan prior to realignment plan

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After reaching a general agreement to revise the 2006 U.S. Forces Japan realignment plan, the United States and Japan plan to frontload the relocation of the US Marines based at MCAS Futenma to Guam. This will be a separate project from the MCAS Futenma relocation. In this relocation, the number of Marines to be relocated will be set at 4,700 instead of the original 8,000 to 4,700. The remaining 3,300 Marines will be relocated to Darwin, Australia, the Philippines, South Korea and other places on the US Marines rotation schedule. There is also the possibility that 1,000 of the Marines will be relocated to MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The outline of the recent review and meetings on the USFJ realignment plans should be announced no later than February 13, 2012.

Additionally, under the existing realignment program, four US facilities located in the southern region of Japan, all are south of MCAS Futenma: Naha Naval Port, Makiminato Service Area, Camp Kuwae, the Army Oil Storage Facility and a portion of Camp Zukeran are set to be completely returned to Japan.

And in case you are wondering why the US has renewed interest in Asia, check out my post on Japan’s Renaissance and my take on Japan’s moves to gain influence in Asia and Africa:

I believe that Japan has used Article 9 and the Yoshida Doctrine to slowly and efficiently build up its Self Defense Force while enjoying or tolerating the collective-protectionism of the United States. While some say that the US should leave Japan or get out of Asia entirely, many Asian nations do not want to see the return of “Imperial” Japanese Forces, especially forces that can go nuclear. Yes, there are current territorial disputes, false claims in textbooks, the comfort woman issue, and the huge task that Hello Kitty must take on to promote Japan, Inc. in a manner pleasing to those that fall sway to Japan’s soft power. I just wonder what Japan should do once India and China flex their power in regions strategic to the United States and Japan’s interests? Has anyone noticed the current scramble for better “relations” with Africa by the US, China, Japan, and India? What are the implications? Read more here.

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