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Japan's Cabinet Approves US Military Realignment Plan


Japan's Cabinet has approved an agreement with Washington for a major realignment of U.S. forces based in the country.

The agreement calls for Washington to reduce its 50,000 strong troop contingent in Japan. It also gives the Japanese military a greater responsibility for security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the agreement, Washington will shift 8,000 troops and their dependents from the Japanese island chain of Okinawa to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. Other U.S. forces will be relocated around Okinawa.

The deal requires Japan to pay about 60 percent of the cost of the U.S. military relocation, or about $6 billion. (Washington had originally asked Japan to pay 75 percent of the cost.)

Japanese government officials said Tuesday they will continue to seek the support of local residents for the military realignment plan.

Okinawans have expressed concern about the relocation of a U.S. air base on the island, fearing it could compromise their safety and hurt the environment. Okinawa's governor, Keiichi Inamine, has called for more discussion of the plan before giving it his approval.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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