Japan approves funding for Marine relocation to Guam
Pacific Daily News
May 23, 2007
2:20 p.m., May 23 — TOKYO (AP) — Japan's upper house of parliament approved legislation today to fund the reorganization of U.S. forces in Japan and help move thousands of Marines from the country's south to the U.S. territory of Guam.
The legislation is now law.
Tokyo and Washington agreed last year on a plan to streamline American troops and give Japan greater responsibility for security in Asia. The deal also envisioned lightening the burden on local communities by downsizing U.S. bases and consolidating troops at other ones throughout the region.
Japan has agreed to pay $6 billion for the transfer of troops to Guam in the Pacific, while Washington has said it will contribute $4 billion.
The prefecture of Okinawa, a cramped southern island, hosts more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops based in Japan.
"The realignment of the U.S. troops in Japan will contribute to maintaining peace and security in Japan. The realignment is also extremely important to reducing the burden on residents near defense facilities," the legislation said.
Under the realignment plan, the U.S Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan will be relocated to Nago, both in Okinawa, and carrier-borne fighters of the U.S. Navy's Atsugi base, southwest of Tokyo, will move to Iwakuni in western Japan.
The law, which was passed in the lower house last month, paves the way for local governments hosting consolidated U.S. military facilities to receive state subsidies to expand their infrastructure to accommodate the increased troop burden.
It will also allow the state-run Japan Bank for International Cooperation to give loans to contractors hired to help relocate 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam.
Under the plan, the bank will give loans and investments to a U.S. company that will build new housing for the Marines in Guam, according to the Defense Ministry. The company will pay back the money with rent it receives.