Japan and the US have agreed to relocate thousands of US marines from Okinawa in a move aimed at reducing the island's military burden amid lingering anger among residents over pollution, accidents and crime.
Under a deal reached in Washington late on Thursday, about 9,000 marines will move from the southern Japanese island to the US Pacific territory of Guam and other locations in the region, including Hawaii and Australia.
By shifting a large number of the 19,000 marines on Okinawa, leaders in Tokyo and Washington said they hoped to reduce the US military footprint on the island while retaining a strong enough presence to deal with security emergencies in the region.
In a joint statement, the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, and the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said the agreement would honour Washington's commitment to defending Japan and maintaining stability in an "increasingly uncertain security environment".
"Japan is not just a close ally, but also a close friend," Panetta said separately. "And I look forward to deepening that friendship and strengthening our partnership as, together, we address security challenges in the region.... Source/Origin >> Read More