Realizing the Vision of the 2006 Realignment Roadmap: The Okinawa Consolidation Plan

Ambassador Roos and Japanese PM Abe shake hands after the announcement of the Okinawa Consolidation Plan

April 5 - Top U.S. and Japanese leaders announced the Okinawa Consolidation Plan at a ceremony at the Kantei, culminating years of hard work by dedicated professionals on both sides of the Pacific. The Japanese Government was represented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. On the U.S. side, the participants were U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian Pacific and Security Affairs Asia Mark Lippert, and Major General Andrew O'Donnell, the Deputy Commander of United States Forces, Japan (USFJ).

The Okinawa Consolidation Plan marks a significant step towards realizing the vision of the 2006 Realignment Roadmap, and towards achieving a sustainable U.S. military presence in Japan with less impact on the Okinawan people. This realignment effort is critical to the ongoing U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, and to America's ability to maintain a well-distributed and politically sustainable force throughout Asia. The Consolidation Plan will reduce the U.S. footprint in the most populated areas of Okinawa, and enable the return of significant amounts of land south of Kadena Air Base - while maintaining U.S. military capabilities vital to the defense of Japan and the security of the entire region.

During the ceremony, Ambassador Roos stated: "Mr. Prime Minister, Chief Cabinet Secretary, Ministers, let me congratulate you and thank you for this significant milestone in the U.S.-Japan Alliance. As the Prime Minister said, and as the Ministers said, this is a very important event for reducing the impact of our bases in Okinawa - but at the same time, maintaining the long-term sustainability of our bases and our ability to keep peace and security in the region and the defense of Japan.

"And Mr. Prime Minister, I want to thank you for your leadership. This is so important to the partnership between the United States and Japan. And we know we have a lot of work to do to complete the Realignment Roadmap, but as each of us said, this is an important step. And as we've said many times - and repeat today - we will continue to work with you to reduce the impact of our bases in Okinawa, while maintaining the important security posture that we have here in Japan. So thank you and your entire team, entire government, for the hard work that was put into this in order to get us today.

"I also want to express appreciation to Assistant Secretary Lippert and our team that worked hard - and we will continue to work together with you to implement and achieve a successful result for the Realignment Roadmap."