Much of 2012 has been spent in negotiations with Japan over the ending of a military agreement to allow US military to be on base in Okinawa; however, there is speculation that Japan might not want to be as drastic as pushing the US military move it were first asking for.
Several months back there was definite talk about making the US military move to Guam or all the way back home. Now there are deteriorating conditions in the South China Sea, and the rekindling of issues with North Korea might warrant a change of heart.
Prime Minister Noda and Defense Minister Morimoto stated last week that Japan might deploy its self-defense forces if issues continue to escalate close to their waters. These forces would be deployed if the Coast Guard is unable to handle them. Chinese maritime surveillance and law enforcement around the Senkaku Islands has been going on for years, but recent moves by China make these more uncomfortable than ever. The Japanese government made another interesting move, asking for a Cold-War style hotline to be set up between China and Japan’s military forces. Japan also expects North Korea to increase its military capabilities, noting the recent action in Pyongyang.
Japan does not like the US military being on its shores, especially with certain troubles the US military has caused in the past; however, turning the entire force or even half of the US military away might leave Japan more vulnerable.