Japan Ministry of Defense

Defense Minister Kitazawa and U.S. Defense Secretary Gates at the Pentagon
No.18 AUGUST 2010

Cover Photograph:
Defense Minister Kitazawa and U.S. Defense Secretary Gates at the Pentagon

Japan–U.S. Agreed on the Henoko-saki Area

Japan–U.S. Security Consultative Committee released Joint Statement concerning the Base Realignment

On May 28, both the Japanese and U.S. governments, which have been holding consultations over the issue of the relocation of the Marine Corps Air Station(MCAS) Futenma, released a joint statement signed by the members of the Japan–-U.S. Security Consultative Committee(SCC) (Defense Minister Kitazawa, Foreign Minister Okada, U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Clinton).

In the joint statement, Japan and the United States reaffirmed that a sustainable U.S. military presence in Japan, including in Okinawa, providing the deterrence and capabilities necessary for the defense of Japan and for the maintenance of regional stability. It reiterated that as part of its realignment, the United States would relocate MCAS Futenma and return the base to reduce the impact on local communities. Moreover, while confirming of steadily implementing the realignment initiatives described in the May 1, 2006, SCC Document" Japan–United States Roadmap for Realignment Implementation" , the statement clearly laid out " the intention to locate the replacement facility at the Camp Schwab Henoko-saki area and adjacent waters." A study by experts regarding the replacement facility's location, configuration and construction method would be completed by the end of August, 2010, and that the verification and validation would be completed by the time of the next SCC. The Ministers recognized the importance of responding to the concerns of the people of Okinawa that they bear a disproportionate burden related to the presence of U.S. Forces, and also recognized that the more equitable distribution of shared alliance responsibilities is essential for sustainable development of the Alliance. Based on the aforementioned recognition, the Ministers directed that, as progress is made toward the replacement facility, concrete measures should be taken expeditiously in such areas as relocation of training outside of Okinawa, environmental measures, and shared use of facilities between U.S. Forces and the SDF.

Based on this statement, on May 28, the cabinet made a decision over such a course of actions by the government of Japan as to; (1) verify and validate the MCAS Futenma relocation plan (2) reduce the disproportionate burden in Okinawa, and to share the responsibilities of the alliance in whole nation, (3) continuously tackle the issues like dispersing the burden of the base outside Okinawa or Japan and consolidating of military bases of USFJ in order to deepen the alliance.

Consultations over the Issue of the Relocation of MCAS Futenma at the Japan–U.S. Defense Ministers Meeting

Minister Kitazawa and Defense Secretary Gates at the Pentagon for the meeting
Minister Kitazawa and Defense Secretary Gates at the Pentagon for the meeting

On May 25, Defense Minister Kitazawa and Secretary of Defense Gates held a Japan–U.S. Defense Ministers Meeting at the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington D.C., where they discussed, focusing mainly on the following agenda;

  1. 1. With regard to the issue of the relocation of MCAS Futenma, Defense Minister Kitazawa and Defense Secretary Gates agreed that Japan and the United States would continue to cooperate closely to resolve the matters.
  2. 2. With regard to the incident of the sinking of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy vessel, Defense Minister Kitazawa said that the torpedo attack by North Korea cannot be condoned, and that Japan strongly condemns the action. Defense Secretary Gates thanked Prime Minister Hatoyama's response to North Korea, and staked that it is important for Japan, the United States and the ROK to cooperate and take the unified stance.
  3. 3. With regard to activities by the Chinese Navy, Defense Minister Kitazawa explained the recent activities of Chinese naval vessels, including the exercise that was carried out in April 2010. He also stated that various forms of bilateral cooperation should be implemented under the current situation that involves contingency risk, as indicated by a Chinese helicopter flying abnormally close to a Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyer. Defense Secretary Gates agreed with his view over the importance of cooperation.
  4. 4. Regarding the Japan–U.S. Alliance,in view of the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan–U.S. Security Treaty, both sides agreed to promote bilateral relationship in wide-ranging fields, and to strengthen cooperation on the ministerial level of two countries in order to further deepen the alliance to adapt to the evolving environment of the twenty-first century and enhance its credibility and effectiveness.