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US / Japanese couple living in Japan. What's the best way to legally return to the US together?

My fiancé and I have been together for a year and a half, engaged recently. I'm American, he's Japanese but we both live in Japan currently. We want to relocate to the US and him join the airforce sometime next year and are trying to decide if we should marry legally in Japan ASAP, apply for his green card and THEN move home, or apply for a K-1 fiancé visa, move and marry in the US then apply for a green card. We don't care where or when we legally marry as we will be having our formal ceremony and reception at a later date when it's safe for big gatherings.

I've seen conflicting reports of the time / money it would take to do either of these. It seems like it would be easier / cheaper to marry now and apply for a green card, but then (I think) he would be unable to enter the states or work until he receives it which could be a whiiiile considering covid. But I also saw on the Immigration website that sponsorship paperwork typically needs to be filed from within the US and I would need a domicile and income in the US, which I don't have as I havent lived there since early 2019. I have combined US/ JP savings of around $40k cash and my parents would be willing to co-sponsor, so I'm not sure if that would help. Regardless, I absolutely will not be moving away from him indefinitely.

Our top considerations is that I absolutely do not want to go back to the states without him, but we would like to get this started quickly because so many things have to happen before we start our family, and I just turned 30 so time is somewhat of an issue.

Would it be possible for him to enlist in the military on a K-1 visa after we are married in the US? Or should we just marry now and go the green card route and hope it doesn't take 2 years?

Sorry for the wall of text and thank you for any help Reddit :)

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