Roos describes Japan as an ‘equal partner’

The Associated Press

U.S. Ambassador John Roos said Friday that Washington views Tokyo as an equal partner and is willing to give Japan’s new government time to review a plan to rework the deployment of American troops in the country.

Newly elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said he wants Japan to chart a more independent path with the U.S. and review a military realignment agreement forged between the U.S. and the previous Liberal Democratic Party government, which was soundly thumped in August elections.

The framework of the plan, which would relocate 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam, had been agreed on in 2006, but several major points remain to be worked out, including the location of a base to replace Okinawa’s Futenma air station, a major Marine hub. Some members of Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan want the base moved off Japanese territory entirely.

“We view the United States and Japan as partners, equal partners,” Roos told journalists at his Tokyo residence. “As partners, we want to listen to what they have to say and work with them on this issue.”

Roos said that just as the administration of President Barack Obama went through a process of evaluating policies and making changes, so Hatoyama’s new government needed time to analyze policies and make decisions.