WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta indicated Tuesday that the United States is considering moving some of its Marines in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture to the Philippines as part of efforts to diversify their deployment on a rotational basis.

Noting the importance of maintaining a military presence in the Pacific region, Panetta told a hearing of the Senate Arms Services Committee, "We've just developed an agreement with Australia to do a rotational presence there. We're working with the Philippines on hopefully a similar arrangement there as well."

Giving up the initial plan to transfer some 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, the Pentagon is now considering moving about 4,700 Marines from Okinawa to Guam and 3,300 to elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

Washington has sounded out Tokyo on a plan to transfer about 1,500 Marines out of the 3,300 to the Marine Corps' Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture, but Japanese Foreign Minister Koichio Gemba said Monday that Tokyo has no plan to allow such a relocation. Read More

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