Photo by Yoshukazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images.
American and Japanese officials announced Thursday that the United States will relocate a little less than half of the 19,000 Marines currently stationed in Okinawa to other bases in the surrounding region in a bid to ease tensions with locals who see the base as too noisy and the soldiers as potentially violent, the Washington Post reports.
The Marines will be moved to bases in Hawaii, the U.S. territory of Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific. The Associated Press explains that roughly 10,000 Marines will remain stationed in Okinawa, which is seen as crucial to the American military strategy in the region.
The estimated cost of relocation is $8.6 billion, of which Japan will pay $3.1 billion. No time table has been announced for the move.
The New York Times notes that the American presence in the Asia-Pacific region will not decrease because of the agreement.
The Japanese foreign minister, Koichiro Genba, called the agreement a "forward-looking and concrete one that prioritizes reducing the burden on Okinawa, including the return of land." Japan is also pushing the United States to shift their military base in Okinawa from its current location in an urban area to a less populated one.