Japan: reach basic accord on relocating two U.S. bases in Okinawa

The United States and Japan have reached a basic agreement on relocating two U.S. military bases on the southern island of Okinawa, where the U.S. military presence has been a frequent focus of protests, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Under the accord, the United States will return to Japan port facilities at the Naha Naval Port in Naha and the Makiminato Service Area in Urasoe, the Yomiuri newspaper said, citing unidentified Japanese government sources.

The bases' functions will be consolidated with those at Camp Courtney, also on Okinawa, the report said.

As a condition for handing over the bases, the U.S. government demanded a solution to a long-running dispute over relocating the U.S. Marines Corps' Futenma Air Station to another site in Okinawa, the report said.

The realignment is part of the Pentagon's push to streamline its overseas bases and create a leaner, more flexible military. But the repositioning in Japan is also meant to ease tensions caused by the U.S. military presence.

Under the basic agreement reached by both sides, some of the units currently stationed at Makiminato would be moved to Guam. To speed the transfer, Japan may help fund the construction of new military facilities in Guam, the Yomiuri said, reported AP.


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