Sunday, December 13, 2009

Japan gets ultimatum

Japan gets ultimatum

Monday, 14 December 2009 02:59
by Romeo Carlos | Variety News Staff

US wants Japanese government to decide by Friday

THE United States has given Japan until the end of this week to decide whether or not it will implement the 2006 pact involving the relocation of U.S. marines in Okinawa, saying the 2011 budget allocation for the transfer plan is at stake, Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

U.S. officials are taking a hardline suggesting allocations planned for the transfer of the Marines might be spent elsewhere in the federal budget if Tokyo failed to comply with a reasonable response by Friday.

It was strongly indicated by the U.S. that Washington would not be able to alleviate the prefecture's burdens as a host of U.S. bases if Tokyo chooses not to accept the current plan.

A policy research committee head for a center-right conservative partner of the new government in Tokyo met to discuss the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa prefecture with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and other U.S. officials at the State Department in Washington on Friday.

The relocation of the air base has become a stumbling block in the much-anticipated transfer of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa as part of a massive realignment on Guam.

During a courtesy call with Gov. Felix P. Camacho last week, Japanese defense minister Toshimi Kitazawa confirmed moving the entire Futenma air base to Guam had been presented as an option for consideration.

During his Guam visit, Kitazawa acknowledged that it would be difficult for the island to accommodate more than 8,000 Marines.

“On Guam the government has already begun to prepare for the buildup based on the 2006 plan agreed to by the United States and Japan,” Kitazawa told reporters. “[Relocating Futenma to Guam] is not included in that plan.”

The defense minister recognized his country’s responsibilities in negotiations with the U.S., he said, emphasizing the need to discuss the matter “intensively” with Democratic Party of Japan coalition partners.

In the meantime, amid growing uncertainty and incongruities, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo issued a written statement heralding almost $740 million in military project spending the delegate described as “moving from planning to implementation phase” which she claims will “create jobs for our local workforce.”

The military impact study downplays any significant economic contributions to the economy however and cites among the reasons the high levels of foreign workers that will actually get most of the 33,000 jobs the impact report projects will be created.

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