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Japan cool to moving Okinawa USMC unit

March 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

TOKYO, March 11 (UPI) -- The United States has proposed transferring Marines from Okinawa to one of the other U.S. military bases in Japan, reluctant Japanese officials said.

Officials told Japan's The Yomiuri Shimbun this weekend the proposal would involve about 1,300 of the 8,000 Marines slated to be relocated from Okinawa to the island of Guam.

The newspaper said Tokyo did not respond enthusiastically to the proposal, telling U.S. negotiators that a manpower move of that size would undoubtedly be opposed by local residents.

The Marines in question make up the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, which currently consists of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft flying out of the Futenma and Iwakuni Air Stations on Okinawa. The United States had wanted to consolidate the wing at Iwakuni; however Japan objected and demanded they be moved to Guam with rest of the Leathernecks.

The latest proposal would move the wing to other U.S. air bases on Japan's main islands.

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