Tokyo and Washington agreed Friday to move about 9,000 U.S. Marines out of Okinawa as part of the ongoing realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan, leaving about 10,000 marines in the prefecture.

Of the departing contingent, 4,000 will be stationed on Guam and the rest mainly in Hawaii and other areas, a Defense Ministry official said, elaborating on the joint statement.

As for the contentious plan to shift the Futenma air base in Ginowan farther north on Okinawa Island, the allies altered their description of the plan from "the only viable solution," as stated in earlier papers, to "the only viable solution that has been identified to date."