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U.S., Japan agree to relocate military base on Okinawa Island

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User ID: 984267
05/28/2010 06:43 AM
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U.S., Japan agree to relocate military base on Okinawa Island
U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said on Friday they had agreed to relocate a U.S. military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa despite mounting local opposition.

The two leaders issued a statement following a 20—minute phone call, welcoming the relocation of the Futenma air base to a less densely populated part of Okinawa. “They expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the two sides in reaching an operationally viable and politically sustainable plan to relocate the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma,” the White House said.

The agreement represents a major climbdown for Mr. Hatoyama, whose Democratic Party of Japan, which came to power last year, had promised to scrap a 2006 deal with the U.S. to relocate Futenma on the island and move the base from Okinawa altogether.

Mr. Hatoyama earlier apologized to the islanders for breaking his promise, but is likely to suffer a further loss in popularity over the decision, as well as disaffection within the ruling coalition.

Relations with Washington had cooled considerably following Mr. Hatoyama’s announcement of his intention scrap the 2006 deal.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Hatoyama reiterated their commitment “to strengthen cooperation under the US—Japan Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation,” the statement said. Japan and the US had agreed to the closure of the base in 1996 and in 2006 the then—government reached a deal with Washington similar to the current compromise to move the base to Henoko, a sparsely populated area near the northern city of Nago.

Mr. Hatoyama told reporters after speaking with Mr. Obama that the president expressed his “gratitude that an agreement was made in the two—plus—two,” a bilateral committee on security matters comprising U.S. and Japanese defence and foreign ministers. The two leaders also condemned the North Korean torpedo attack on a South Korean warship and pledged to cooperate closely with Seoul, including in support of appropriate action by the UN Security Council, the White House said. “The president and the prime minister called on North Korea to end its provocative behaviour towards its neighbours and to abide by its commitment to eliminate its nuclear—weapons program and to fulfil its other international obligations.”

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User ID: 984278
United States
05/28/2010 07:03 AM
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Re: U.S., Japan agree to relocate military base on Okinawa Island
Why don't they relocate the base to Tokyo International Airport?

Maybe because the riots would be a lot bigger.