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Panetta Discusses Okinawa Issues During Japan Visit

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

TOKYO, Oct. 25, 2011 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Japanese leaders discussed the relocation of U.S. forces on Okinawa and other security issues during a series of meetings here today.

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Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba in Tokyo, Oct. 25, 2011. DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Panetta met separately with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Foreign Affairs Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa.

In a joint news conference, Panetta and Ichikawa told reporters both are committed to the realignment roadmap and strengthening the U.S-Japan military alliance.

The secretary said all three Japanese officials confirmed their government is working to complete the environmental impact assessment required to move ahead with the plan that will significantly adjust U.S. forces on Okinawa. The 2006 roadmap signed by Japan and the United States would relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, now in the center of Okinawa