17:56 GMT06 March 2021
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi on Tuesday denied earlier reports about a secret deal with the United States military concerning the joint use of an American Marine base in the southern prefecture of Okinawa.

    On Monday, the Kyodo news agency reported about a secret deal reached in 2015 between then-chief of the Ground Self-Defence Force, Gen. Kiyofumi Iwata, and Lt. Gen. Lawrence, a commander of the American forces in Okinawa at the time, that meant stationing a regiment of the GSDF Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade at the US Marines' Camp Schwab in Okinawa's Henoko district.

    "We are not considering [the] placement [of] amphibious rapid deployment units as well as joint use of Camp Schwab. The decisions are made based on a wide discussion [of such issues] by the Japanese and US foreign and defence ministries. These issues are not for the Ground Self-Defence Force and the Marines to decide. The Ground Self-Defence Force is taking into account different options, and I would refrain from giving answers on any of them", Defence Minister Kishi said, according to Kyodo.

    Despite making up just 0.6 percent of Japan's territory, Okinawa hosts most of the American forces and military installations in the country. According to data from the prefecture, some 25,800 US servicemen, as well as 19,000 of their family members and civilians, reside there.

    Tags:
    Okinawa, US military, US, Japan
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