George Little’s Statement on the GOJ’s Submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment to the Okinawa Government

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

December 28, 2011

The Government of Japan informed us that they delivered the environmental impact statement for the Futenma Replacement Facility to the Okinawa Prefectural Government today. The Secretary of Defense welcomes this news. We are also pleased that our two governments have reached agreement on several measures designed to mitigate the impact of the U.S. military presence, including improved implementation of our Status of Forces Agreement and the relocation of an aviation training exercise to Guam in February.

Submission of the EIS demonstrates significant progress on the Futenma Replacement Facility, and we appreciate the efforts of the Government of Japan to move ahead. The secretary looks forward to working with Japan in taking the next step, securing the landfill permit.

Progress on the Futenma Replacement Facility is a critical part of the realignment of our forces in Japan and Guam, which ultimately will result in fewer Marines in Okinawa and a consolidation of our footprint—all while sustaining critical capabilities forward in the Western Pacific.

As the secretary said when he visited Japan earlier this year, we remain committed to the principles of the 2006 Realignment Roadmap, and to a military presence in Japan and the region that is operationally resilient, geographically distributed, and politically sustainable. U.S. forces in Japan are indispensible to the defense of Japan, to the maintenance of peace and security across the region, and to our ability to respond effectively to humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters across the Western Pacific.