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WASHINGTON — Top Japanese officials hope negotiations with U.S. defense planners this week will push their own government to act more urgently in realigning American troops stationed in their country.

Following the 2 Plus 2 Ministerial meetings between the countries’ diplomats Tuesday, Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma said he hoped politicians in his nation would “step up efforts” to shift U.S. forces around the country.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso echoed that, saying the meeting underscored both the importance of the defense cooperation and the responsibility of Japan’s politicians to follow through on realignment plans.

During a similar high-level meeting last May, defense officials from both countries outlined a “road map” for U.S. forces in Japan, including moving 8,000 Marines and their families from Okinawa to Guam and transferring flight operations from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Camp Schwab.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said they are pleased with the progress so far.

Those plans are scheduled to be completed by 2014, and in the past few months both countries have begun environmental impact studies and formed offices to oversee the moves.

But Mitsuo Sakaba, press secretary for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that privately U.S. officials have worried the seven years won’t be enough, especially if the Japanese Diet members drag their feet on approving and funding construction projects.

“In the case of Futenma, it’s important to move as quickly as possible,” he said. “Because it is so densely populated, it is very dangerous to continue (U.S. operations) there. The northern side of the island is much less populated and safer.”

In addition, the Diet is considering legislation to pay for more than $6 billion in costs related to the Marines’ move to Guam. The U.S. is expected to pay more than $3 billion for the relocation.

The officials on Tuesday also issued a statement insisting that North Korea and Iran comply with international mandates regarding nuclear weapons testing and research.

In February, North Korean officials agreed to abandon nuclear tests in return for international aid, but the country missed deadlines last month to shut down its processing facilities.

“We expect North Korea to fulfill its obligations under the agreement in February,” Rice said. “From our point of view, the U.S. has done what it needs to do.”

U.S. and Japanese officials said they had no immediate response to North Korea’s delay, but Sakaba said “our patience is not unlimited.”

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