"I am pleased that the United States and Japanese negotiators have successfully reached an agreement in principle that clarifies the scope of the civilian component of the U.S. Armed Forces in Japan… I commend the work of both governments in completing the negotiation of this important agreement, which we expect to be finalized soon," Ashton Carter said in a statement released Sunday.
Carter and Japan’s then Defense Minister Gen Nakatani made a commitment to reaching a new agreement in June. Carter said it demonstrated close cooperation between the two nations in strengthening the US-Japanese alliance.
Heavy US military presence in Okinawa has sparked outbursts of popular anger for years due to associated crime, pollution and aircraft crashes. Last May, a US civil worker at the Marine Corps base was arrested for raping and killing a young Japanese woman. US civilian and military personnel at the base are largely protected from Japanese prosecutors.
Last week, the United States returned almost 10,000 acres of land in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture back to Tokyo after decades of having a military base there.
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