Hagel speaks with Japanese Defense Minister about Camp Schwab-Henoko Bay

United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Saturday to thank him for requesting landfill permits needed to build the Futenma Replacement Facility at Camp Schwab-Henoko Bay.

The facility is a critical part of the realignment of U.S. forces on Okinawa. The camp will enable forces to maintain a presence in the Asia-Pacific region while decreasing their presence in the most populated area of Okinawa.

In exchange for the improved facility, the Department of Defense will return land south of Kadena Air Base to the Japanese government.

The improved facility will also help relocate forces to Guam and other areas in the Pacific.

Hagel said the recent agreement between the U.S. and Japan to negotiate a system in addition to the Status of Forces Agreement on environmental matters was an important step in relations going forward.

The officials also discussed the importance of transparency, as the U.S. implements several Alliance programs, such as the 2+2 statement involving the deployment of an additional TPY-2 missile defense radar to Japan and the integration of the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines revision.

Hagel said it is important for Japan to improve its relationship with its neighbors, and move forward with shared goals of regional peace and stability.