WASHINGTON – Japan and the United States will hold a top security meeting Monday morning to finalize a package on implementing the realignment of the U.S. military presence in Japan, the State Department said Friday.
The so-called two-plus-two meeting will involve Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Senior working-level officials met four days last week in Washington to discuss the details and fine-tune the draft of the implementation plan and other documents for their ministers.
The working-level talks came after Nukaga and Rumsfeld struck a deal Sunday on sharing the cost of moving 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, with Tokyo paying $6.09 billion, or 59 percent, of the total through grants, investment and loans.
The two nations also recently resolved another crucial issue — relocation of the Futenma Air Station in Okinawa — after the central government gained local support.
Wrangling over these two issues caused a March 31 deadline to be missed for drawing up the implementation plan.
Meanwhile, some disputes surfaced last week after a senior Pentagon official revealed an estimate that Tokyo would shoulder $26 billion or more, involving moves within Japan and the Guam share, to help implement the overall U.S. military realignment, while Washington will only pay the $4 billion Guam portion.
Aso and other Japanese officials have complained that the figure is high and vowed to seek an explanation from the U.S.