WASHINGTON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration said on Thursday that Japan's ratification of an accord on the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam is a "significant step" to the two countries' shared strategy.
Japan's Diet (Parliament) on Wednesday officially approved the Agreement on the Relocation of U.S. Marine Corps from Okinawa to Guam, under which Japan will spend a total of 2.8 billion U.S. dollars for the relocation of some 8,000 U.S. Marines and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam by 2014.
"This is a significant step towards the full implementation of the May 1, 2006 Realignment Roadmap," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.
Under the Realignment Roadmap, which is aimed at restructuring U.S. military presence in Japan and strengthening U.S.-Japan alliance abilities, the Japanese military will shoulder greater responsibility for security in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Obama administration "remains committed to completing the realignment package," said the spokesman, adding "we greatly appreciate the people of Okinawa and their role as host to U.S. forces in Japan."
"Okinawa is currently home to approximately 25,000 U.S. service members and their dependents. These soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are a key component of the United States' and Japan's defense strategy," said Kelly.