US Defence Secretary Gates asks Japan to share the Marines transfer costs; Kan pledges to reduce "the burden" of US bases on Okinawa; Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese President Hu Jintao agrees to strength strategic ties;
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  • Reports noted that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked Tokyo to shoulder additional costs to transfer about 8,000 US Marines from Okinawa to Guam. This increased cost is expected to be around tens of billions of yen. United States will look after the cost to develop infrastructure, including facilities for electricity as well as water and sewerage. This total expenditure is predicted to be more than what is estimated.1

    Kan apparently pledged to reduce "the burden" of US bases on Okinawa as the island marked 65 years since the end of a major World War II battle there. He said this on his first visit to the southern island since he took office on June 8 to attend a ceremony to remember the 83-day bloodbath which killed more than 200,000 people, half of them civilians, in 1945.2

    On the bilateral front, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to strength strategic, mutually beneficial relations between the two countries. This meeting was held on the sidelines of the two-day Group of 20 Summit in Toronto. It is predicted that during the meeting, Kan and Hu discussed how to respond to the fatal sinking of a South Korean warship in March, allegedly by a North Korean torpedo attack.3

    On the other hand Kan and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to seek progress on a long-standing territorial dispute through high-level talks. Kan told Medvedev that settling the bilateral dispute has been an ardent wish of the Japanese people over the past 65 years.4 In other developments Japan is calling North Korea a threat to Asia and urging world leaders to issue a strong condemnation over an international finding that the North sank a South Korean warship. A Japanese spokesman said that Kan told his counterparts from Canada and Germany that North Korea's alleged torpedo attack is a "threat to the peace and stability of the region."5

    However, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed over the phone to maintain their close ties under Japan's new cabinet. It was their first conversation since Okada retained his post in a cabinet formed by Kan.6