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3,000 U.S. Marine Corps Stationed in Okinawa to be Withdrawn

3,000 U.S. Marine Corps Stationed in Okinawa to be Withdrawn

Posted July. 23, 2004 22:11,   


According to a report by the Japanese newspaper agency, Yomiuri Shimbun, on July 23, as part of the realignment process of its military forces overseas, Washington is consulting with Tokyo on the withdrawal of 3,000 U.S. marines stationed in Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. The two nations are expected to finalize this plan at meetings between their foreign and defense ministers that will be held in late October.

The main pullout will include the 31st Marine Expeditionary Force (2,100 troops) that belongs to Camp Hansen in Okinawa. It is a Special Operations Force which carries out duties including a landing operation in the face of the enemy, evacuation of noncombatants, and humanitarian support. The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tokyo held a positive view on the U.S. decision since it understood its defense posture would remain intact.

The U.S. government is also considering the relocation of 2,600 troops out of 16,000 marines in Okinawa Prefecture to Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan and the pullout of 600 troops from its supply unit. The total number of U.S. military in Japan to be repositioned or withdrawn will be 6,000 troops as part of U.S. military reconfiguration process.

In order to enhance its mobility, the U.S. military plans to realign its troops in the Asia-Pacific region by shifting its forces concentrated in bases in Okinawa Prefecture.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com