YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The commander of U.S. Forces Japan has been promoted and is to be reassigned to lead the Air Force Air Education and Training Command in Texas.

Lt. Gen. Edward Rice has received Senate approval to rise in rank to general, according to a USFJ news release Tuesday.

It is unclear when Rice will receive his fourth star and take over his next command, according to USFJ.

Rice is not expected to leave Japan before the end of May, when the Japanese government is set to table an alternative plan for the relocation of Marines currently serving at Marine Corps Air Station Futennma on Okinawa, a USFJ spokesman said Tuesday. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Monday that although he will release the plan, he’s given up on his self-imposed deadline of the end of May for seeking approval from the U.S. and local governments for an alternate proposal to a 2006 U.S.-Japan agreement to move the Futenma units to Camp Schwab on Okinawa’s rural northeast coast.

Rice, who has commanded USFJ and 5th Air Force at Yokota since February 2008, is expected to be replaced by Maj. Gen. Burton Field, who currently serves as the senior military adviser to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan/Pakistan at the Pentagon.

President Barack Obama has nominated Field for the job at USFJ and for a promotion to lieutenant general, according to USFJ. The Senate must approve the promotion before it can occur.

Rice will replace Gen. Stephen Lorenz at the Air Education and Training Command who is retiring after 37 years in the Air Force, according to a news release issued by Randolph Air Force Base.

Rice is a 1978 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and a command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours. He commanded bomber operations during the first four months of the war in Afghanistan as commander of the 28th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Rice returns to AETC after commanding the Air Force Recruiting Service there from 2002 to 2004. Prior to his current assignment, he was vice commander of Pacific Air Forces.

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