Wednesday, February 03, 2010

U.S. Department of Defense requests $427 million for Okinawa relocation

U.S. Department of Defense requests $427 million for Okinawa relocation

February 2, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Defense is requesting that $427 million, or approximately 38.4 billion yen, be allocated from the fiscal 2011 federal budget draft to finance the relocation of about 8,000 U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa to Guam.

The announcement came along with the allocation of $159.3 billion (about 14.3 trillion yen) to fund overseas war expenses. In total, the Pentagon will demand $192.3 billion (about 17.3 trillion yen) for war expenses, including $33 billion from the fiscal 2010 supplementary budget to cover the additional deployment of troops to Afghanistan.

The $427 million is intended to cover the construction of additional facilities at Andersen Air Force Base, and reinforce the pier of Apra Harbor in Guam to accommodate the relocation of the troops from Okinawa Prefecture.

However, congressmen will likely demand that the allocation be deleted from the budget draft if Tokyo further delays a decision on the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa beyond May, or makes a proposal unacceptable to Washington.

The administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has pledged to make a final decision on the Futenma relocation in the Okinawa Prefecture city of Ginowan by the end of May. The previous Liberal Democratic Party-led administration had agreed with the United States that the base would be moved to an area off Camp Schwab in the prefecture city of Nago.

In the meantime, the total budgetary allocation that the Pentagon is set to demand for fiscal 2011, excluding war expenses, came to $548.9 billion, or approximately 49.4 trillion yen, up 3.4 percent from the current fiscal year.

(Mainichi Japan) February 2, 2010

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