State Department Office of Japanese Affairs Director Joe Young and Acting Director for Japan in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Vosti met with Okinawa Governor Onaga at the State Department on February 3.
In their meeting, Director Young and Acting Director Vosti conveyed the United States’ sincere appreciation to Okinawa for hosting U.S. military personnel and for playing a central role in the U.S.-Japan Alliance. The United States’ troop presence in Okinawa remains fundamental to fulfilling our treaty commitment to Japan’s defense, and our personnel endeavor always to be responsible members of their local communities.
During the meeting, Director Young and Acting Director Vosti reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to the construction of the Futenma Replacement (FRF) Facility at Camp Schwab. The U.S. officials reiterated that the FRF is the only solution that addresses operational, political, financial, and strategic concerns and avoids the continued use of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma.
Director Young and Acting Director Vosti also highlighted recent steps to reduce our military footprint in Okinawa, including the return of nearly 10,000 acres of the Northern Training Area in 2016, which reduced the amount of land utilized by the United States on Okinawa by close to 20 percent. Additionally, the U.S. officials noted a 2015 agreement on accelerated land returns that will enable local authorities to pursue new infrastructure projects in the prefecture.