Okinawa plan now official

HONOLULU, TOKYO and WASHINGTON (HawaiiNewsNow) – The plan to move thousands of Marines away from Okinawa has now been jointly announced, confirming most of the details leaked out earlier.

The announcement does not mention specifically that up to 2,700 Marines will be moving to Hawaii, as confirmed earlier this week by Sen. Dan Inouye, but neither does the joint statement contradict the details reported before.

Three senators who had objected to the plan because they were not consulted said they had "many questions" but also thanked the administration for working with them.

The statement says Japan "welcomed" the U.S. intent to "rebalance defense priorities toward the Asia-Pacific region."

"The ministers confirmed that a total of approximately 9,000 U.S. Marines, along with their associated dependents, are to be relocated from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan," the statement said.

"The U.S. government also informed the government of Japan that it is establishing a U.S. Marine Corps rotational presence in Australia, with other U.S. Marines moving to Hawaii to enhance operational capability there."

The plan puts the cost of the moves at $8.6 billion, with Japan paying $3.1 billion.

Senate Armed Service Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan, along with the committees ranking members John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jim Webb, D-Va., said they "have many questions" but added, "We appreciate the willingness of the Departments of State and Defense to accommodate some of our concerns."

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