Pressure Building for Japan to Make Progress on Futenma Replacement
The need for Japan to move ahead with plans to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa is expected to be high on the agenda when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta meets with his counterpart in Tokyo this week.
Progress on a replacement for Futenma is a critical step in the realignment of 8,600 Marines to Guam that the United States and Japan previously agreed to. During the U.N. General Assembly meeting last month, President Obama told Japan’s newly elected prime minister that his government needs to move faster on replacing Futenma, reported Guam Buildup News.
Failure by the U.S. Congress to approve fiscal 2012 funding so far for more than $150 million worth of construction needed to prepare Guam for the buildup hasn’t helped the administration’s case, however. Progress from the Japanese government on a replacement facility could raise the prospects for Congress to fund the requested projects when lawmakers complete work on FY 2012 spending bills, according to the story.