Hillary commends Japan PM for decision on US base
Beijing: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday commended as courageous a decision by Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to keep an unpopular US military base in Okinawa.
"I want to commend Prime Minister Hatoyama for making the difficult but nevertheless correct decision to relocate the Futenma facility inside Okinawa", Hillary said in Beijing, where she is in high-level talks with China.
"As a former politician, I know how hard Prime Minister Hatoyama's decision was and I thank him for his courage and determination to fulfil his commitments."
Hatoyama took power last September and one of his election pledges was to move the US base off the southern Okinawa island, shelving a deal between the previous government and Washington and straining ties between the two nations.
But the embattled Premier earlier this month backtracked on that pledge and stuck with the agreement to find another location for the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station on the island.
Residents in Okinawa, which hosts more than half of the 47,000 US troops in Japan, had hoped to see the air station moved entirely off the island, instead of relocated to a less built-up part.