Security Consultative Committee Document Progress on the Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan
Following is a joint document issued at the conclusion of the June 21, 2011 U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting, attended by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Minister for Foreign Affairs Matsumoto, and Minister of Defense Kitazawa.
The Ministers emphasized the increasing importance of the presence of the U.S. forces in Japan, including in Okinawa, to maintain deterrence and strengthen Alliance capabilities in view of the current evolving regional security environment.
The Ministers reaffirmed the commitment to reducing the impact on local communities, including in Okinawa, in turn helping to ensure a sustainable U.S. military presence in Japan.
The Ministers applauded the significant milestones that have been achieved in a number of areas since the 2006 Realignment Roadmap, and resolved to continue making progress toward realizing its objectives.
1. Realignment on Okinawa
(a) Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF):
- The SCC members reconfirmed the importance of the FRF as a key element of the Roadmap.
- Recalling that the replacement facility is to be located at the Camp Schwab Henoko-saki area and adjacent waters as confirmed in the May 28, 2010, SCC Joint Statement, the Ministers completed the verification and validation of the location, configuration and construction method based on the analysis of the Futenma Replacement Facility Experts Study Group (hereinafter referred to as the ExSG).
- The Ministers determined that the replacement facility is to have two runways aligned in a “V”-plan as described by the ExSG, with reclamation of the sea as the primary construction method. Each runway portion is to have the length of 1,800 meters of uniform weight bearing capacity, inclusive of overruns, exclusive of seawalls. The Ministers decided that minor adjustments to the plan could be considered provided that the environmental impact assessment procedures and construction could be completed without significant delay.
(b) Force Reductions on Okinawa and Relocation of III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Personnel to Guam
- The SCC members reconfirmed the commitment to the relocation of approximately 8,000 III MEF personnel and their approximately 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam, as part of a broader strategy for U.S. forces to realize geographically dispersed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable posture in the Western Pacific.
- The Ministers noted the concrete progress made thus far including the conclusion of the Guam International Agreement of February 17, 2009, and fiscal measures taken by both Japan and the United States. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to ensuring the funding necessary for the steady implementation of the relocation in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Roadmap and the Guam International Agreement.
- The United States continues to examine the unit composition of III MEF personnel remaining on Okinawa in the context of overall theater security, including deterrence, while accounting for the concerns of local communities.
(c) The Ministers noted that completion of the FRF and the Marine relocation will not meet the previously targeted date of 2014 and confirmed their commitment to complete the above projects at the earliest possible date after 2014 in order to avoid the indefinite use of the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, while maintaining Alliance capabilities.
(d) Land Returns
- The SCC members reconfirmed that the return of facilities and areas south of Kadena is to be steadily implemented as described in the Roadmap.
- The Ministers determined to conclude and publicly release a detailed consolidation plan as early as possible, reflecting the result of the examination of the unit composition of III MEF personnel remaining on Okinawa.
- The Ministers further emphasized the importance of steady implementation of the plans and measures of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) Final Report.
(e) Relationships among Initiatives
- The SCC members reaffirmed that the relocation of III MEF personnel and dependents from Okinawa to Guam is dependent on tangible progress toward completion of the replacement facility. The relocation to Guam will realize the consolidation and return of most of the facilities south of Kadena.
(f)The Ministers decided that both sides are to continue to explore further ways for impact mitigation in Okinawa including further measures with respect to the “Hotel/Hotel training area.”
(g) Noise Reduction at Kadena
- The SCC members welcomed the progress in the planned relocation of the Navy Ramp to the other side of the major runways at Kadena Air Base and reaffirmed their commitment to the 1996 Joint Committee Agreement on noise abatement.
2. Improvement of U.S. Army Command and Control Capability
- The SCC members welcomed the transformation of the U.S. Army Command and Control at Camp Zama including the incorporation of I Corps (Forward).
- The Ministers also welcomed the steady progress made thus far on the relocation of the Ground SDF Central Readiness Force Headquarter (CRF HQ) to Camp Zama by Japan Fiscal Year 2012.
- These positive steps will contribute to improved U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces (SDF) coordinated command and control capabilities.
3. Yokota Air Base
- The Ministers noted that the Bilateral Joint Operations Coordination Center (BJOCC) is to commence its operation by the end of JFY 2011. This marks a significant step forward in strengthening bilateral command and control coordination, including information sharing.
- The Ministers welcomed the significant progress of the relocation of Air Defense Command (ADC) to Yokota.
- The Ministers welcomed the return of portions of Yokota air space to Japanese control in 2008.
4. Relocation of Elements of Carrier Air Wing from Atsugi Air Facility to MCAS Iwakuni
- The Ministers welcomed the progress made to date in terms of the development of facilities necessary for the relocation of aircraft to MCAS Iwakuni, and the adjustment of training airspace, including air traffic management procedures.
- The SCC members decided to work toward the resumption of civil aviation at MCAS Iwakuni in JFY 2012.
- The Government of Japan will explain to local authorities that Mageshima-island is considered to be the candidate for the new SDF facility. In order to enhance defense posture in southwestern Japan, this facility would be used to support operations in response to a variety of situations including large-scale disasters as well as regular exercises and other activities, including use by U.S. forces as a permanent field carrier landing practice site. The Ministers recognized that a solution to this long-standing issue would be a significant and positive contribution to the Alliance.
5. Training Relocation
- The Ministers welcomed the January 2011 Joint Committee Agreement on the Aviation Training Relocation (ATR) program, including Guam as a host location.
- They decided to study further options for training relocation, including the expansion of both bilateral and unilateral training, inside and outside Japan, such as to Guam.
6. Joint/Shared Use of Facilities
- The SCC members welcomed the establishment of the Joint/Shared Use Working Group to promote expanded bilateral access to U.S. and Japanese facilities located on Japan, including on Okinawa, and in U.S.-administered territories in the Pacific. This step will contribute to closer bilateral coordination, improved interoperability, and stronger relations with local communities.
- The Ministers welcomed the establishment of the Working Group on an Agreement on the Environment and decided to accelerate the consideration of an agreement on reasonable access to U.S. facilities and areas for environmental surveys prior to land returns.