New plan to return U.S. base to Japan

April 5, 2013 at 11:04 AM
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TOKYO, April 5 (UPI) -- Land occupied by a U.S. military base in Okinawa could be returned to Japan within the next decade under a plan announced Friday by Japan's prime minister.

More than 2,500 acres on which U.S. military facilities are located would eventually be given back for Japanese use, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Saturday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 2022 was the earliest year all the property at the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station could be returned. The exact date will be determined by the United States' ability to relocate all the equipment and personnel.

Some portions of the base will come into Japanese control as early as this year, while other portions are not expected to be returned until 2025, the newspaper said.

The U.S. fuel depot and Camp Kuwae in the town of Chatan, as well as the Naha Port facilities are included in the plan.

Futenma is located in a densely populated part of the island. Under an earlier agreement, the base was to be returned in 1996.

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