The U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC) reconfirmed that the U.S.-Japan Alliance, supported by a robust U.S. military presence in Japan, including U.S. Marine Corps forces in Okinawa, continues to provide the deterrence and capabilities necessary for the defense of Japan and for the maintenance of peace, security, and economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
In view of the increasingly uncertain security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the Ministers reiterated their commitment to advance the Common Strategic Objectives set forth in the June 21, 2011 SCC Joint Statement. The Ministers also expressed their intention to enhance bilateral security and defense cooperation in line with that Joint Statement and to identify ways to strengthen engagement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Government of Japan welcomed the January 2012 announcement by the U.S. Government of the new Strategic Guidance for the Department of Defense, which states the U.S. intent to rebalance defense priorities toward the Asia-Pacific region, and also welcomed U.S. efforts to advance its diplomatic engagement in the region.
To achieve the goals of the shared partnership between the two countries, the SCC decided to adjust the plans outlined in the May 1, 2006 SCC Document entitled, “United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation” (Realignment Roadmap). As part of these adjustments, the Ministers decided to delink both the relocation of the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) personnel from Okinawa to Guam and resulting land returns south of Kadena Air Base from progress on the Futenma Replacement Facility.
The Ministers affirmed that these adjustments are necessary to realize a U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific region that is more geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable. The adjustments, moreover, do not alter the fundamental goals of the Realignment Roadmap, which are to maintain deterrence and mitigate the impact of U.S. forces on local communities. The adjustments also strengthen interoperability between U.S. forces and the Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) and support the development of Guam as a strategic hub.
The Ministers also affirmed that the unit composition described in Section I would strengthen the deterrence capabilities of the U.S.-Japan Alliance. Furthermore, the Ministers underscored that the deterrence capabilities of the Alliance would be strengthened through Japan’s efforts, such as development of a dynamic defense force and enhancement of its defense posture in areas including the Southwestern Islands. They also noted that bilateral dynamic defense cooperation, including timely and effective joint training, joint surveillance and reconnaissance activities, as well as joint and shared use of facilities, would strengthen deterrence.
I. Unit Composition in Guam and Okinawa
The Ministers announced their intent to adjust the composition of U.S. Marine Corps units in Okinawa and Guam. Because the authorized strength of U.S. Marine Corps forces in Okinawa has grown slightly since the Realignment Roadmap, and in order to maximize the operational capability of the departing and remaining units, both governments have decided on certain adjustments to the end-state composition of U.S. Marine Corps forces in Guam and Okinawa.
The United States plans to locate Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF) in Okinawa, Guam, and Hawaii and intends to establish a rotational presence in Australia in order to establish a geographically distributed force posture while sustaining the forward presence of U.S. Marine Corps forces in the region. This revised posture will ensure a more capable U.S. Marine Corps presence in these locations, strengthening deterrence and enabling flexible and rapid responses to various contingencies. The Ministers confirmed that these steps would contribute to Japan’s defense and to peace and stability throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The Ministers confirmed that a total of approximately 9,000 U.S. Marines, along with their associated dependents, are to be relocated from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan. U.S. Marine Corps forces remaining in Okinawa are to consist of the III MEF Headquarters; the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Headquarters; the 3rd Marine Logistics Group Headquarters; the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit; and base sustainment elements of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, along with essential aviation, ground and support units. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to achieve an end-state for the U.S. Marine Corps presence in Okinawa consistent with the levels envisioned in the Realignment Roadmap. Consistent with the usual practice of Alliance consultations, the U.S. Government is to notify the Government of Japan of changes to the organizational structure of the U.S. Marine Corps units in Okinawa.
The United States is working to establish an operational U.S. Marine Corps presence in Guam consisting of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Headquarters; the 4th Marine Regiment; and elements of aviation, ground and support units from III MEF. A base sustainment unit is also to be established there. The authorized strength of U.S. Marine Corps forces in Guam is to be approximately 5,000 personnel.
In conjunction with these adjustments, the U.S. Government also informed the Government of Japan that it is establishing a U.S. Marine Corps rotational presence in Australia, with other U.S. Marines moving to Hawaii to enhance operational capability there. In executing these moves, the U.S. government reaffirmed its commitment to sustain its current military presence and enhance military capability in the Western Pacific.
To reinforce the long-term sustainability of the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps units from Okinawa mentioned above is to occur when appropriate facilities are available to receive them. Recognizing the strong desires of Okinawa residents, these relocations are to be completed as soon as possible while ensuring operational capability throughout the process.
The preliminary cost estimate by the U.S. Government for the relocation of Marines to Guam described above is $8.6 billion in U.S. fiscal year 2012 dollars. In order to expedite the establishment of an operational U.S. Marine Corps presence in Guam, and considering the aforementioned unit composition, the two governments reaffirmed that Japan’s financial commitment is to be the direct cash contribution as stipulated in Article 1 of the 2009 Guam International Agreement. The two governments affirmed that other forms of Japanese financial support to Guam relocation would not be utilized. Any contributions from Japan to develop training areas as referred to in Section II are to be a part of the aforementioned commitment. The remaining costs and any additional costs are to be borne by the U.S. Government. Any funds already transferred by the Government of Japan to the U.S. Government under the 2009 Guam International Agreement are to be counted as part of the Japanese contribution. The two governments are to complete a bilateral cost breakdown. They are also to consult regarding further actions to be taken in light of the 2009 Guam International Agreement. The Ministers noted the importance of continued consultations on the programmatic and technical details of these initiatives with the legislative branches on both sides.
II. New Initiatives to Promote Regional Peace, Stability, and Prosperity
The Ministers confirmed the great importance of working together to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and enhancing effective, efficient and creative cooperation.
In this context, the U.S. Government plans to continue to help allies and partners in the region to build their capacity with training and exercises. The Government of Japan, for its part, plans to take various measures to promote safety in the region, including strategic use of official development assistance, for example through providing coastal states with patrol boats.
In order to develop Guam as a strategic hub and mitigate the impact of the U.S. military presence on local communities, both governments plan to explore new efforts to promote bilateral dynamic defense cooperation in the region based on the assessment of the changing security environment. The two governments are to consider cooperation in developing training areas in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as shared-use facilities by U.S. forces and the JSDF. Both governments are to identify specific areas of cooperation in this regard by the end of 2012.
III. Consolidation of Bases and Land Returns in Okinawa
The total or partial return of the following six facilities and areas remains unchanged from the Realignment Roadmap:
- Camp Kuwae (Camp Lester): Total return.
- Camp Zukeran (Camp Foster): Partial return and consolidation of remaining facilities and infrastructure to the extent possible.
- Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma: Total return.
- Makiminato Service Area (Camp Kinser): Total return.
- Naha Port: Total return (relocated to the new facilities, including additional staging area, to be constructed at Urasoe).
- Army Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricant Depot Kuwae Tank Farm No.1: Total return.
The United States committed to return lands on Okinawa as designated U.S. Marine Corps forces relocate from Okinawa, and as facilities become available for units and other tenant activities relocating to locations in Okinawa. The Government of Japan noted its responsibility to relocate all functions and capabilities that are resident in facilities designated for return, and that are required by forces remaining in Okinawa, including the housing necessary to support the remaining U.S. Marine Corps units, in coordination with the U.S. Government. Coordination with local communities is to take place as necessary.
Land of the aforementioned facilities and areas is to be returned as early as it becomes possible. The Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) relocation and return initiatives may need to be re-evaluated.
In order to reduce the impact of U.S. forces on Okinawa as early as possible, both governments affirmed that the following areas utilized by U.S. forces are eligible for return:
- The Ministers confirmed that the following areas are eligible for immediate return upon completion of necessary procedures:
- West Futenma Housing area of Camp Zukeran (Camp Foster)
- The north access road of Makiminato Service Area (Camp Kinser)
- Area near Gate 5 on Makiminato Service Area
- A portion of the warehouse area of the Facilities and Engineering Compound in Camp Zukeran (after the provision of a replacement warehouse at another location)
- The Ministers confirmed that the following areas are eligible for return once the replacement facilities in Okinawa are provided:
- Camp Kuwae (Camp Lester)
- Lower Plaza Housing area, a part of Kishaba Housing area, and the Industrial Corridor of Camp Zukeran
- Elements of Makiminato Service Area, including the preponderance of the storage area
- Naha Port
- Army Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricant Depot Kuwae Tank Farm No.1
- The Ministers confirmed that the following areas are eligible for return as U.S. Marine Corps forces relocate from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan:
- Additional elements of Camp Zukeran
- The remainder of Makiminato Service Area
A consolidation plan, including sequencing of relocation steps, is to be jointly developed for facilities and areas remaining in Okinawa, with a particular focus on determining the end-state of Camp Zukeran (Camp Foster), by the end of 2012. This effort should consider the land usage at Camp Zukeran required by this revised unit composition, as well as the possible impact of the joint and shared use of facilities on Okinawa. The Ministers noted that joint and shared use of facilities was a key objective of the Realignment Roadmap. This consolidation plan would be available for public release as soon as possible. The Ministers welcomed the formation of a working group, which is to include appropriate officials of their respective capitals, to develop and oversee this consolidation plan.
IV. Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) and MCAS Futenma
The Ministers resolve to continue to work toward the relocation of MCAS Futenma in a way that meets the criteria: operationally viable, politically feasible, financially responsible, and strategically sound. The Ministers reconfirmed their view that the FRF, planned for construction at the Camp Schwab-Henoko saki area and adjacent waters, remains the only viable solution that has been identified to date.
The Ministers confirmed their commitment to resolve the issue of the FRF as soon as possible in order to avoid the indefinite use of MCAS Futenma, while maintaining Alliance capabilities.
Both governments expressed their commitment to contribute mutually to necessary refurbishment projects at MCAS Futenma, such as those to sustain its safe mission capability until the FRF is fully operational and to protect the environment, on a case-by case-basis and consistent with existing bilateral arrangements, including Host Nation Support. Bilateral discussion of specific refurbishment projects is to be conducted through a channel separate from the one used to discuss realignment initiatives, with initial refurbishment projects to be identified by the end of 2012.
The Ministers welcomed the close and fruitful cooperation embodied in this Joint Statement, and they directed that the adjusted realignment package should be implemented expeditiously, in consultation with the legislative branches on both sides. They further expressed confidence that the package would be a solid foundation for a deeper and broader U.S.-Japan Alliance. The Ministers noted a number of significant achievements with realignment initiatives since the last SCC meeting in June 2011, including: progress in the environmental impact assessment process regarding the FRF; the expansion of aviation training relocation programs to Guam; the relocation of the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) Air Defense Command to Yokota Air Base; and progress in the relocation of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) Central Readiness Force Headquarters to Camp Zama. The Ministers expressed their intent to achieve further progress on realignment goals and more broadly to evaluate Alliance roles, missions, and capabilities (RMC), in order to fortify the Alliance for the evolving challenges of the regional and global security environment.