Influential U.S. senator to visit Okinawa, discuss realignment plans
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 27, 2012
Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., plans to visit Okinawa again for discussions on U.S. military realignment plans, according to a press release from his office.
The visit, part of a trip through Japan and Southeast Asia beginning next week, is a follow-up to meetings held last year with local Japanese officials and U.S. military leaders.
Webb and other members of Congress, including Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have been vocal opponents of the long-stalled plans to shift Marine forces from Okinawa to Guam. Following last year’s visit by Webb and Levin, the Senate crafted language in the 2012 Defense Authorization Bill that froze funding for the project and required the Department of Defense to complete an independent review of the realignment and suggest alternatives to the plan. Those alternatives could include closing some bases and moving the Marines onto Kadena Air Base on Okinawa.
Webb will be traveling through Japan, Thailand and Myanmar from Sunday through April 12 and meeting with foreign affairs, commerce, energy and defense officials as well as U.S. diplomats and military leaders, according to the release.