USFJ mum on reports of plans to move some Okinawa Marines to Zama, Fuji
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — U.S. officials remain cautious concerning recent reports that plans are brewing to move some Okinawa-based Marines to mainland Japan.
In response to Japanese news reports about a proposal to move 2,600 Marines from Okinawa to camps Fuji and Zama, both southwest of Tokyo, a U.S. Forces Japan spokesman Monday said talking about moving troops should not be misinterpreted.
“The U.S. and Japan engage in consultations on a regular basis, both as part of normal alliance management and, more recently, as part of U.S. efforts to realign the U.S. global force structure and posture,” read a statement from U.S. Forces Japan.
“In such consultations, it is appropriate that people share personal and informal views on both sides but such views should not be mistaken for official proposals from either side,” the USFJ spokesman said. “Moreover, it would not be conducive to a frank exchange of views to comment on the informal and personal views that individuals may or may not have offered in such consultations.”
Kyodo News reported that moving some Marines to Camp Fuji would strengthen relations with Japan’s Self-Defense Force and the move to Camp Zama would improve cooperation between the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.
Reports of plans to move Marines from Okinawa, usually citing unnamed Japanese diplomatic sources, have become a Japanese press staple in recent months, as the United States continues redeployment of its overseas forces. Okinawa officials long have called for reducing the U.S. force’s footprint on Okinawa, home to about half the U.S. forces in Japan and 75 percent of the bases used solely by the U.S. military in the country.
Last month unsubstantiated reports said talks were under way to move a Marine artillery unit from Okinawa to Hokkaido.