JAPAN SAID TO SEEK $1 BILLION FROM U.S.

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Initial costs of moving U.S. troops from Okinawa to Guam

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 10, 2008) - The Japanese Government is reported to be seeking US$1 billion (100 billion yen) in the 2009 fiscal year towards relocating U.S. troops off Okinawa island to Guam.

Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports sources as saying it is far more than the $206 million allocated in the 2008 fiscal year, which ends in March.

Japan’s Defence and Finance ministries say the figure may make it necessary to break the U.S. troop "realignment" costs out from the defence budget.

The $1 billion includes about $434 million to $542 million for hundreds of acres of land in Guam, where Japan is to build barracks and a commander’s office for U.S. Marine Corps units now stationed in Okinawa.

The Japanese government is also calling for hundreds of millions [of dollars] to relocate the Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa elsewhere and for dismantling existing facilities and converting the land for other uses.

The realignment agreement was reached in May 2006 between the foreign and defense ministers of Japan and the United States, calling for completing the transfer of U.S. marines from Okinawa Prefecture to Guam by 2014.

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