Japan has told the United States that it is ready to negotiate on a possible increase in its outlays for moving U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, government sources said Thursday.
Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa has already sent a letter to his U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates, saying Tokyo is willing to discuss the additional expenditures requested by Washington so the transfer will be realized by the current target of 2014, the sources said.
On Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told reporters that Japan and the United States will discuss ways to realize the transfer on time in “a positive manner.”
The U.S. defense chief sent a letter to Japan in mid-June to request that Tokyo shoulder additional costs to transfer around 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, according to the sources.
The U.S. has said developing infrastructure on Guam to meet an expected increase in population will cost more than previously estimated, hinting the transfer may not be realized by the target year.
The transfer is a pillar of the bilateral accord forged in 2006 on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.
The 2006 agreement said the total cost of the transfer will be $10.27 billion, of which Japan will shoulder around $6.09 billion.
Tokyo is concerned about the delay as it is likely to affect the overall realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, including the relocation of the Marines Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa.
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