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Japan, US Reach Cost Sharing Deal on Marine Relocation
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Japan and the United States agreed on a cost sharing plan regarding the relocation of 8,000 US Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Kyodo News reported on Monday.

Japan will shoulder 59 percent of the total cost of US$10.27 billion, or US$6.09 billion, Japanese Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga said in Washington after meeting with his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld.

The agreement came after several fruitless rounds of talks on the issue. Washington had requested Tokyo to pay 75 percent, or US$7.5 billion, though Tokyo had been unwilling to pay that much.

The two have nailed down the Marines relocation issue this time, Nukaga said. Tokyo will supply US$2.8 billion in grants, US$1.5 billion in investments and US$1.79 billion in loans.

Previous disagreements on the cost issue and others have kept the two nations from meeting the March 31 deadline to settle the whole implementation plan, as decided in October 2005.

Tokyo and Washington are expected to get prepared for a top security meeting of defense and foreign ministers early next month to finalize the overall implementation plan.

American troops have been stationed in Japan since the end of World War II in 1945. Currently, there are about 50,000 US troops located there. Local residents have long complained about crime, noise and crowding associated with the US military presence.

(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2006)

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