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Outgoing commander stresses importance of Marines’ presence in Okinawa

Saturday morning’s Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times took up a press conference on Friday by departing Okinawa Area Coordinator Nicholson, during which he underscored that the Marines in the island prefecture will continue to play a key role in regional security even if North Korea’s denuclearization becomes a reality as a result of the Singapore summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. The general, who plans to leave his post in August, reportedly said: “Even if the threat dissipates on the Korean Peninsula, we will continue to train and respond as needed.” Okinawa Consul General Ehrendreich, who sat in on the press conference, said it is still premature to project what effects, if any, the U.S.-DPRK summit will have on the U.S. bases in the southernmost prefecture. Speaking on the Futenma replacement facility to be built off Camp Schwab, Lt. Gen. Nicholson noted although aircraft using the FRF will mainly fly over the sea, they may sometimes use land routes, such as when traveling to and from the Northern Training Area. He expressed hope for joint use of military facilities by the U.S. military and the SDF at such installations as Camp Kinser. Lt. Gen. Nicholson noted that the local media has played up misconduct by U.S. troops and urged the participating journalists to report on times when “U.S. personnel make contributions to local residents by behaving heroically.”     

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