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Japan's Futenma Air Station plans on hold

Jan. 30, 2012 at 2:53 PM   |   Comments

TOKYO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Japan's central government says it plans to ask the Okinawa governor after June elections for permission to reclaim land for relocation of a U.S. Marine base.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports the central government is struggling to persuade Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima to approve the reclamation plan to build the Futenma Air Station in waters off the Henoko area of Nago City.

The request to the governor will be made after the June 10 Okinawa Prefectural Assembly election and all the candidates campaigning for the election are expected to urge relocation of the Futenma Air Station outside Okinawa.

The U.S.-Japan Futenma agreement could fall apart if the application to relocate in Okinawa faces major delays, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

In talks last year in Washington between American and Japanese foreign and defense ministers, the U.S. government urged Japan to show "visible progress" within a year in resolving the stalemate in Okinawa.

Talks on relocation of the Futenma Air Station have gone on for years. The plan calls for relocating the base from its current site in a densely populated city of Ginowan to a quieter coastal location while transferring about 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

Residents in Okinawa oppose the relocating the base anywhere within the prefecture.

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