Schatz Statement on Okinawa Marine Base Relocation

Approval from Okinawa Governor to Begin Relocation of U.S. Marine Base is Diplomatic Breakthrough, Key to Broader U.S. Realignment in Asia-Pacific

Honolulu – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released the following statement today after Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima signed off on plans that will allow the relocation of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station.  The relocation is key to a broader U.S. realignment of troops in the Asia-Pacific region, and will move approximately 8,000 Marines to other locations in the region including Hawai‘i, Guam and Australia. The Okinawa approval is a diplomatic breakthrough and breaks seven years of impasse in which the relocation plan was unable to move forward.

"It is important that the agreement reached satisfies the concerns of the people of Okinawa.  Japan is an important ally in the region and Okinawa, like Hawai‘i, plays a key role in the U. S.-Japan alliance," said Senator Schatz.  "As the transition moves forward and the United States continues our strategic rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific, Hawai‘i will play an even more important role in ensuring the right distribution of forces throughout the region by providing facilities for Marines and DOD service members.  Whether it’s facilitating the base relocation or cooperating in energy research or cultural exchange, Hawai‘i and Okinawa have a long history of supporting each other and this is great news for our friends in Okinawa."