The Pentagon's announcement identifying the US Marine Corps units that would relocate from Okinawa to Guam was the next step in a multi-year plan to redistribute US forces in the Asia-Pacific. Most US troops in the Asia-Pacific are currently based in Japan and South Korea, and is a holdover from World War II and the Korean War. But it's been half a century since those arrangements were put in place, and US defense policymakers have been keen to look at different configurations geared toward present and future, not historical, threats.
The presence of US forces on Okinawa has always been a sensitive political issue for Japan. Located 1,000 miles south of Tokyo, Okinawa is a Japanese prefecture and hosts roughly 26,000 of the total 47,000 US troops stationed in the country. Tensions between Tokyo and Okinawa have been a major factor in US force redistribution.
"The genesis of this plan [to move Marines to Guam] came from Japanese domestic politics," said Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
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