The return of land on Okinawa`s Northern Training Area will reduce the footprint of U.S. forces on the Japanese island by 20%, U.S. Department of Defense reports, according to Ukraine Today.
The land that used to be a training area was returned during a ceremony hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his office in Tokyo, Ukraine Today reported.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Air Force Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan, attended the ceremony.
This is the largest land return since 1972 when the United States returned sovereignty over the island to Japan. U.S. forces captured the island from Japan in April 1945.
The Northern Training Area, also known as Camp Gonsalves or the Jungle Warfare Training Center, is a 19,300-acre U.S. installation in northern Okinawa. Aside from a few support buildings, roads and ranges, it consists almost entirely of untouched rainforest. It is the largest U.S. installation in Japan.
The area is home to some endangered species, and it abuts the Yanbaru Wildlife Center.
Training will still be conducted on the remainder of the area, officials said.