US Yanks Almost Half of Okinawa Marines

Because Japan doesn't want them there
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2012 6:43 AM CDT
US Yanks Almost Half of Okinawa Marines
US marines haul a 155 mm Howitzer onto the flight deck of the landing ship USS Germantown in Okinawa, Japan, in preparation of exercise Cobra Gold in this Feb. 2, 2012 file photo.   (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Johnie Hickmon, File)

The US military has worn out its welcome in Japan, so the two countries today announced an agreement to pull about 9,000 Marines from the Okinawa base, redeploying them in other places in the Asia-Pacific region, like Hawaii and the US territory of Guam. Japan has grown increasingly restless about the US military presence there (in part because of incidents like this one), and the move is part of a larger agreement to reduce those tensions, the AP reports.

The Obama administration is also eager to spread our troops throughout the Asia-Pacific, as it focuses more on the region. Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta released a statement saying the agreement would keep Japan safe amidst an "increasingly uncertain security environment." About 10,000 Marines will remain at the Okinawa base, and there's no timetable yet for the other 9,000 to depart; the statement says only that it will happen "when appropriate facilities are available to receive them." (More Okinawa stories.)

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