Tokyo: Japan has decided to propose to
Washington to relocate half of a controversial US military
airbase away from the southern island of Okinawa, a report
said on Thursday, citing the top government spokesman.
The government had agreed on a plan to move 50 percent of
the functions of the US Marines' Futenma airbase to several
regions outside Okinawa, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi
Hirano told senior ruling coalition officials, Jiji Press
It gave no details of the alternative locations for the
airbase away from the southernmost island.
Hirano also said Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada would
meet with US ambassador John Roos tomorrow ahead of his visit
to Washington on Sunday on his way to the Group of Eight
foreign ministerial meeting in Canada, Jiji Press said.
The government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who came
to power last year, has been reviewing a 2006 pact to relocate
the Futenma airbase within Okinawa prefecture.
The 2006 agreement, signed by the previous conservative
government and Washington, would move the base from a crowded
residential district to a quieter coastal part of the island,
despite opposition from local residents.
Hatoyama and his coalition partners have explored the
possibility of scrapping the 2006 deal and moving the base off
Okinawa but have met with repeated US refusals.
First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 23:13