Japan and the United States agreed Tuesday to speed up bilateral talks on a planned review of the U.S. military deployment in Japan.

Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage reached this agreement during sub-Cabinet-level talks, according to a Japanese official.

The official declined to provide further details of the the discussion between Armitage and Takeuchi.

Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said last week that Japan and the United States must see a path by the end of this year with regard to reaching an agreement on how U.S. forces will be realigned here.

Japanese government sources had said earlier that ongoing talks on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan covered the possibility of transferring the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s First Corps from the state of Washington to Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture.

The two countries are also mulling the possible relocation of U.S. Marine forces in Okinawa Prefecture to other areas of Japan or to foreign countries, as well as Japan-U.S. joint use of Yokota Air Base in suburban Tokyo, which is currently used exclusively by the U.S. military, the sources said.

On Tuesday, Japan and the United States also reaffirmed their commitment to urging North Korea to return unconditionally to the deadlocked six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear arms program, the official said.

The talks involve host China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

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