US, Japan Release Okinawa Consolidation Plan

The United States and Japan completed the plan to reduce the US military footprint on Okinawa, while maintaining an “effective US force” in the area, announced Pentagon officials. The 29-page Okinawa Consolidation Plan, released on April 5, outlines the incremental return of about 2,500 acres of land now used by US forces to Japan by around the mid-2020s. “Our plan calls for the immediate return—upon the completion of certain necessary procedures—of certain facilities and areas on Okinawa,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a statement. “The United States will then return additional locations once replacement facilities are constructed and when a sizeable contingent of US Marine Corps forces relocates outside of Japan, namely to Guam and Hawaii,” he added. The United States and Japan are still working to resolve replacement facility issues “to avoid the indefinite use” of MCAS Futenma, states the release. US defense officials said the consolidation plan is consistent with the US military’s Asia-Pacific rebalance. (Includes AFPS report by Cheryl Pellerin and AFPS report by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.)