By Bob Kovach and Chelsea Carter
Roughly half the U.S. Marines on Okinawa will be transferred under an agreement announced Thursday that will reduce the military footprint in Japan, easing local resentments over the amount of land being used by American forces.
Some 9,000 Marines along with their family members will be transferred under the agreement, with about 5,000 being sent to Guam as part of a military buildup on the U.S. territory in the Pacific, according to a joint statement released by the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee.
"I am very pleased that, after many years, we have reached this important agreement and plan of action," Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said.
The announcement by the committee, which included the top U.S. and Japanese defense officials, ends years of seesaw talks aimed at cutting the American presence on the island south of Tokyo.