Japan wants to keep its share of the expenses for moving some 8,000 U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa to under half, Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Wednesday.
“I, for one, would like to see it cut down to at least below 50 (percent),” Aso told a House of Representatives panel.
The United States estimates the move will cost $10 billion and is proposing Japan shoulder 75 percent. Japan reportedly responded by offering to finance the move with $2.5 billion in loans.
The transfer is part of a global U.S. military realignment aimed at making its forces more mobile and flexible.
“There’s no way of yielding to as much as 50 (percent),” Aso said. “But I don’t know where we will end up after the talks.”
His remarks came in response to a question from Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Kosaburo Nishime during a meeting of the lower chamber’s Special Committee on Okinawa and Northern Problems.
At a separate panel, Aso said Japan and the United States will hold senior working-level talks for three days starting next Tuesday in Washington in a bid to finalize the U.S. realignment package hammered out with Japan.
The talks are expected to address the Guam relocation.
The Guam plan estimate is “an asked price, and I do not believe there are any particular grounds” for proposing that figure, Aso told a meeting of the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee.
He voiced hope, however, that a consensus would be reached during next week’s talks, saying, “We basically aim to reach a conclusion (then).”
The meeting was rescheduled after the United States proposed postponing talks that were scheduled this week to meet Friday’s deadline for a final agreement on the package.
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