- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2006

JAPAN

U.S. asked to clarify realignment costs

TOKYO — Surprised by the cost, Japan will ask the United States to explain its estimate that Tokyo will pay about $26 billion for the realignment of the U.S. military here, a top government official said yesterday.

U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Richard Lawless made the estimate Tuesday, shocking Japanese officials. Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Japan would seek a clarification from Washington. Mr. Lawless made the comment days after the two countries agreed that Japan would pay about $6 billion to help move 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

“We need to ask the U.S. side which items are included,” Mr. Abe said. “This amount is not the result of any agreement, and we have not received any request from the U.S. to shoulder this amount.”

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said yesterday that the government would not impose a tax increase to pay for the U.S. move.

PHILIPPINES

Terrorist plot for Labor Day foiled

MANILA — Police said yesterday that they had foiled a plot by militants linked to al Qaeda to carry out a bombing campaign against crowds celebrating Labor Day on Monday.

Police raided a bungalow purportedly rented by Abu Sayyaf rebels in the eastern Manila district of Marikina and recovered high-powered improvised bombs, grenades, blasting caps and other materials.

The house, however, was unoccupied, and no arrests were made, Senior Superintendent Asher Dolina said.

“These bombs are ready for detonation,” he told reporters. “The grenades could easily be thrown at the crowds on May 1.”

INDONESIA

Militant sentenced over anti-U.S. plot

JAKARTA — An Indonesian court sentenced a Muslim militant yesterday to seven years in jail for hiding a wanted terrorist suspect who planned to rob, kill and kidnap Americans and citizens of U.S.-allied countries.

Ahmad Rafiq Ridho, 30, was found guilty of hiding Malaysia’s Noordin Mohammad Top, the most-wanted terrorist suspect in Southeast Asia, and helping him collect money to finance terrorist activities.

In the verdict, Presiding Judge Ariansyah Dali at the South Jakarta District Court said the judicial panel also found him guilty of “having and keeping illegal firearms, handguns, ammunition or explosives.” Ridho denied the charges, saying he does not know anyone named Noordin Mohammad Top and that he would appeal the ruling.

Weekly notes

Thailand’s top judges met yesterday to find a way to resolve a deep political crisis after King Bhumibol Adulyadej told them to decide how a new government could be formed after an inconclusive election. Judges of the three top courts met separately before a summit of their chiefs today after the king, in a rare political intervention, declared the April 2 general election boycotted by the main opposition parties undemocratic. … Alan Waddell, 91, an accountant and lifetime teetotaler, is an unlikely man to inspire Australia’s largest city, but his attempt to walk every street in Sydney, despite multiple health complaints, has won him fans across Australia and abroad. Last weekend, Mr. Waddell, who walks with his son, John, completed the 200th suburb on an epic journey. He has traveled more than 1,860 miles in just over three years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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