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Japanese Gov't Endorses US Military Realignment Plan
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The Japanese cabinet approved a final plan on the reorganization of the US military presence in Japan Tuesday, nearly a month after Tokyo and Washington struck a deal on the realignment package, Kyodo News said.

The plan, based on the US-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation signed on May 1 in Washington, was approved at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday morning.

The plan covers realignment steps such as relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within Okinawa, moving 8,000 of the 18,000 US Marines from Okinawa to Guam by 2014 and others.

However, according to Kyodo, apparently due to Japanese local resistance, the newly approved plan did not touch the controversial issues such as the building of the new airfield with two runways aligned in a V-shape as previously mentioned in the Roadmap, or the deadline for drawing up concrete details.

Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine has yet to officially accept the relocation plan.

"We will continue our efforts to gain the understanding and cooperation of local communities in Okinawa Prefecture," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Monday evening.

No exact amount of cost to be shouldered by Tokyo was mentioned. Though recent media reports said that the government estimated to pay 1.1 trillion yen (US$9.82 billion) over the upcoming eight to ten years for the realignment of US military presence in Japan.

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 in Japan. Local residents have long complained of crime, noise and crowding associated with the US military presence.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2006)

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