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Japan hails Okinawa's US troop reduction

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Japan hails Okinawa's US troop reduction


Japan’s government has welcomed a deal with the United States that will see the number of American troops on Okinawa virtually slashed in half.

The new plan, to relocate 9,000 US Marines elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, breaks years of deadlock between the two allies.

Five thousand will go to Guam, and the rest will be redistributed to bases such as Hawaii and Australia.

The US presence on the Japanese island has been the cause of long-term resentment among residents.

The Japanese Defence Minister Naoki Tanaka said: “I believe the agreement is good because we’ve been able to maintain a strong deterrent force stationed there, and we have also been able to get a demonstrable decrease in the burden on the people of Okinawa.”

The islanders have long-held grievances against the American presence there, angry about crime-levels, noise and fatal accidents they attribute to the military base.

Fury hit a peak when three US servicemen raped a 12-year-old Japanese schoolgirl in 1995.

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