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Last Updated: Friday, 14 April 2006, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
No deal in Japan-US troop talks
By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Tokyo

A protest at the Okinawan city of Ginowan on 5 March against plans to relocate a US baser
Okinawans are unhappy with the presence of US bases
Japan and the United States have failed to reach agreement over the details of their plans to redeploy some of the 50,000 US troops on Japanese soil.

Last year the two countries agreed in principle a number of measures including moving several thousand US troops off the island of Okinawa.

It is part of a worldwide realignment of US forces.

But arguments remain over who should foot the bill and the latest round of negotiations has ended in failure.

Washington's chief negotiator, Richard Lawless, told reporters that two days of talks had finished with several points of contention still to be worked out.

Earlier, Japanese officials had said there were no major disagreements with the Americans.


The sticking point was the question of how much each side should contribute to the cost of moving 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the US territory of Guam.

Mr Lawless confirmed that another tricky issue, the move of a Marine Corp airfield away from a densely populated urban area on Okinawa, had been sorted out.

So it is the $10bn- (5.7bn-) bill for the Marines' deployment that appears to be holding up the final agreement.

Japan has balked at the US suggestion that it should pay three quarters of that cost.

Tokyo has said it would be prepared to pay less, around $3bn of the total cost.

This week, during the negotiations, it was reported to have offered a further $3bn in the form of a loan.

Japan has contributed to the cost of keeping US troops here since the end of World War II.

But opinion polls suggest the Japanese people do not feel they should pay more than their fair share of the cost of moving the Marines, the public finances are already in bad enough shape.

So further talks will be needed to try to come to an agreement.

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