The United States and Japan have finalized realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and an announcement in this regard is expected by Wednesday.
Defense chiefs of both the countries are to announce a joint document detailing the realignment as early as Wednesday. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his Japanese counterpart Naoki Tanaka confirmed the plan by phone on Monday, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported on Tuesday.
The document separates the issue of transferring U.S. Marines abroad from the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa in the wake of persistent demand of the local population for moving the base out of the prefecture. It says that 9,000 Marines will be transferred from Okinawa outside Japan.
The plan also says the U.S. will return 13 military facilities in the prefecture to Japan in three stages.
While Panetta welcomed the latest agreement, Tanaka said Japan would strive to maintain good relations with the United States based on the pact.
During the telephonic talk with Panetta, Tanaka also referred to the crash of U.S. Marines' MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Morocco earlier this month. He called for more information on the accident, citing concern among the people of Okinawa. Deployment of such aircraft is planned for Okinawa later this year.
According to the NHK report, Panetta has agreed to share the information.
by RTT Staff Writer
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