Japan, Okinawa at odds over Marine base

Feb. 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM
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CAMP FOSTER, Japan, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says a U.S. Marine base should be moved to another part of Okinawa, something the top Okinawan official opposes.

Noda, on an official visit to the Japanese-ruled island chain prefecture, tried to convince Okinawan Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima the the best way to relocate the base was to move it from Ginowan to the Henoko area of Nogo, also in Okinawa prefecture, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

But Nakaima disagreed during the 20-minute meeting. The Ginowan base is seen as a burden in Okinawa.

"It would take much time to realize a relocation to the Henoko area," Nakaima told Noda. "I want the national government to thoroughly consider the matter since the prefecture aims to move it outside the prefecture."

Meanwhile, Stars and Stripes reported it might take years to relocate 4,700 Marines from Okinawa, though the United States and Japan are moving forward with plans to do so.

It would take about two years to decide where on Guam to build Marine training ranges, and construction would take longer, the Navy's Joint Guam Program Office told the service newspaper.

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