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US, Japan fail to get deal on American troop moves

Written by: Staff

WASHINGTON, Apr 6 (Reuters) The United States and Japan wrapped up two days of meetings without concluding a deal on a sweeping reorganization of 50,000 US troops in Japan and dividing the cost of moving 8,000 Marines to Guam, the Pentagon said today.

''The implementation agreements were not finalized,'' said Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Pentagon spokesman.

Maka said the talks ended yesterday and more talks will take place in the future, but the time and place had not been decided. He would not indicate whether progress was made.

The two allies reached a broad agreement on the reorganization plan in October but have been unable to hammer out the details.

The Japanese and US governments are divided over how much Japan should pay toward moving 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the US territory of Guam, a key part of the reorganization plan.

The United States has proposed that Japan pay 75 per cent of the 10 billion dollars it estimates is needed to move the Marines.

Japan, with huge state debts, wants to reduce the total cost as well as its share of the burden and provide at least some of the funds in the form of loans.

US and Japanese officials have agreed to close the Marines' Futenma air base in a crowded part of Okinawa and replace it with a new base near the rural city of Nago.

The plan faces opposition from locals worried about noise, crime and the environment, and resentful of Okinawa's heavy burden under the US-Japan security alliance.

Japan and the United States missed a March 31 deadline to wrap up the realignment package, which includes steps to more closely integrate their forces and is part of Washington's effort to transform its military globally to meet modern threats.

Japan is now turning up the heat on Okinawa to accept the Futenma relocation plan. But activists vow to block creation of a new base, which is also opposed by Okinawa's governor and the mayor of Nago.

Reuters PG VP0145

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