US, Japan unveil revised plan for Okinawa

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Washington, Apr 27: The US and Japan have announced a revised agreement on streamlining American military presence in Okinawa under which some 9,000 troops will leave the Japanese island and move to Guam and other locations in the Asia Pacific region.

"I am very pleased that, after many years, we have reached this important agreement and plan of action," Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said.

"Japan is not just a close ally, but also a close friend. And I look forward to deepening that friendship and strengthening our partnership as, together, we address the security challenges in the region," the Defence Secretary said.

His comments came after the two countries issued a joint statement in this regard.

"The United States plans to locate Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF) in Okinawa, Guam, and Hawaii and intends to establish a rotational presence in Australia in order to establish a geographically distributed force posture while sustaining the forward presence of US Marine Corps forces in the region," the statement said.

This revised posture will ensure a more capable US Marine Corps presence in these locations, strengthening deterrence and enabling flexible and rapid responses to various contingencies, the joint statement said.

A total of about 9,000 US Marines, along with their associated dependents, are to be relocated from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan, it added.

The US is working to establish an operational US Marine Corps presence in Guam consisting of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Headquarters; the 4th Marine Regiment; and elements of aviation, ground and support units from III MEF.

A base sustainment unit is also to be established there.

The authorised strength of US Marine Corps forces in Guam is to be approximately 5,000 personnel, it said.

PTI

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