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Diet endorses accord on US Marines transfer from Okinawa to Guam

May 13, 2009


The Japanese Diet approved May 13 an accord with the United States on the transfer of US marines' stationed in Okinawa to Guam. The approval process had stalled due to opposition by the Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties.

Japan will provide up to $2.8 billion of the total $10.27 billion cost of the transfer, to be completed by 2014. Placing a limit on Japan's financial commitment ensures the burden does not expand in the future. The accord stipulates a transfer of 8,000 Marines and their 9,000 dependents stationed in Okinawa to Guam by 2014. The move is intended to reduce the financial burden on Okinawa that is presently home to 74% of all US military personnel in Japan.

The Democratic Party of Japan opposed the accord on the grounds that the costings lacked detail. The amount of $2.8 billion will be the maximum amount made available and covers budgetary spending through fiscal 2011. Many of the details of the transfer are yet to be finalized, and hence it is difficult to provide concrete, detailed estimates at this stage.

This accord specifies, however, that the necessary funding for each fiscal year be determined in consultation between Japan and the US each year. On the Japan side, the expenditure will be deliberated in the budget committee of the Diet and thoroughly checked in the audit committee.

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