The United States may relocate the command functions of the Yokota Air Force Base in western Tokyo to Guam, senior Self-Defense Forces officials said Thursday.

While the plan would see the existing base in Yokota retained, it would also see the majority of personnel moved to Guam by October.

The idea has been floated as a means of realizing a U.S. proposal to integrate the functions of the 13th Air Force in Guam with the 5th Air Force at the Yokota base.

The U.S. initially proposed that the command functions be at the Yokota base. Japan stated, however, that the integrated headquarters would need to be located outside of Japan should it cover a region larger than that outlined in the Japan-U.S. security agreement.

Under the bilateral pact, Japan provides the U.S. military with facilities such as bases, while the U.S. provides military protection for Japan and maintains security in the Far East. The United States proposed moving the command functions to Guam in a bilateral meeting of senior foreign and defense officials in San Francisco on July 15.

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