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TOKYO - Japan's annual defense report released on Friday underlined the vital role played by US military forces stationed in Japan in protecting Japan and its neighbors in the region.
The report document said the US Marines stationed in Japan need to be positioned at a strategic place to ensure this deterrence. It hinted that the southwestern prefecture of Okinawa is a better geographic location for the Marines to respond to emergencies in East Asia than Hawaii, Guam or the US mainland.
Tokyo and Washington agreed in May to move the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station from the densely populated residential area of Ginowan in Okinawa to the less crowded Henoko district at the Marines' Camp Schwab in Nago within the prefecture by 2014.
The report reviewed defense-related developments in the past year ending mid-August. It was the first defense white paper unveiled by the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).
In addition, the document said that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) nuclear programs and missile activities are an "extremely destabilizing factor" for the security of Japan and other countries in the Northeast Asian region.