Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Japan to allot buildup costs in its fiscal budget

Japan to allot buildup costs in its fiscal budget

Pacific Daily News • December 9, 2009

Japan will earmark in its fiscal 2010 budget expenses related to the relocation of a U.S. military airfield in Okinawa and the transfer of 8,000 Marines to Guam, an Agence France Presse report stated, citing Japan Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa.

"Prime Minister (Yukio Hatoyama) has approved the allocation," which is required under a 2006 bilateral accord on the reconfiguration of U.S. forces, the minister said in the AFP report. The move suggests Tokyo is attempting to assuage Washington's concerns over the base relocation, which has grown into a bilateral row.

Kitazawa's announcement comes a day before his trip to Guam. He was scheduled to arrive last night.

The Japan-U.S. pact stipulates the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in a crowded residential area of Ginowan will be moved to the less densely populated city of Nago in Okinawa by 2014.

But Hatoyama pledged during election campaigning before his Democratic Party of Japan came to power in September that he will seek to move the Futenma facility out of Okinawa.

The premier has recently indicated the government may not draw a conclusion on where to relocate the Futenma base until next year, the AFP report stated. He said Monday the country would inform the United States of its policy by Dec. 18, when he may meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Copenhagen.

In a press conference, Kitazawa said about 50 billion yen will be earmarked for the Marines' transfer to Guam in Japan's fiscal 2010 budget, and that he will visit the island to inspect Andersen Air Force Base and other military installations.

The defense chief said more than 30 billion yen has already been earmarked in the fiscal 2009 budget for the Marines' transfer to Guam and that his three-day visit to the Pacific island is intended to examine how the project to build new accommodation facilities has been getting on there, the report stated.

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