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Japan, US End Realignment Talks
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Japan and the United States failed on Wednesday to reach a final agreement on realignment of the US troops stationed in Japan and decided to end the talks one day earlier than scheduled, Kyodo News reported on Thursday.

The talks, which was held in Washington, split with the two sides holding conflicting stances on the cost sharing of moving a Marine troop from Okinawa to Guam, Kyodo said, quoting Japanese government sources.

There was no major progress on other issues neither, insiders said.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said in Tokyo that the bilateral senior working-level talks will be held again later next week.

The issue of cost sharing for moving 8,000 US Marines haunted several rounds of negotiations, which have failed to produce a final outcome by the originally scheduled deadline of March 31.

In former rounds of talks, the United States has officially set the total estimated costs for the moving at about US$10 billion, and asked Japan to share a burden of 75 percent, while Japan has only offered to cover US$3 billion, including US$2.5 billion for housing construction, through loans to be paid back by the United States.

Analysts said the situation shadows the prospect for a final agreement, and a top-level political decision may be needed in the end, according to Kyodo.

Japan and the United States reached an agreement last October on transferring 8,000 US Marine troops out of Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of the US troops stationed in Japan.

(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2006)

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