Defense Secretary William J. Perry said here Wednesday that the United States has no plans to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Japan, despite a groundswell of local opposition that began in September with the rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl in which three U.S. servicemen have been charged.
Perry, who said his remarks were a “preview” of what President Clinton will say when he arrives here in three weeks, said that some “adjustments” could be made to “reduce the intrusiveness” of the 47,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan. He said possible measures include consolidation and elimination of some of the 94 installations the United States operates here.
But in an hour-long address to Japanese journalists, Perry repeatedly said that the Japanese must understand that some inconvenience to them may be unavoidable because the U.S.-Japan security alliance “does not come without cost; freedom is not free.” During the Clinton visit, U.S. officials hope Japan will “renew its commitment to U.S. troops,” Perry said.
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