Tags: base | Okinawa | resolution | expansion

Resolution Coming on Okinawa Base

Thursday, 27 May 2010 10:16 AM

TOKYO — Japan and the United States are expected Friday to officially resolve a row over an unpopular US airbase on Okinawa island that has strained ties and threatened to splinter the ruling coalition in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's centre-left government said Thursday it was in the final stages of working out a deal with its key international ally, to be released by both nations' foreign and defence ministers and secretaries.

Hatoyama is expected to formally announce that the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma will be relocated within Okinawa, from a crowded city location to the coastal region of Henoko, as demanded by Washington.

The premier's pacifist coalition partner the Social Democrats strongly oppose the move, citing anti-base sentiment on Okinawa, and have threatened to bolt the government over the issue ahead of July upper house elections.

Hatoyama's right-hand man, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano, Thursday rejected calls from the Social Democrats not to specify Henoko as the new location in the official government decision and the bilateral declaration.

"We are in the final phase of putting together the agreement," Hirano said, adding that accepting the Social Democrats' demand for a fresh round of negotiations with Washington would be "very difficult."

"We cannot start the process all over again," he said.

Tokyo and Washington first agreed the base move within Okinawa in 2006.

Hatoyama -- who took power in September, ending a half-century conservative reign -- initially said he may scrap the pact and instead move the base off the island, but then failed to find a suitable alternative location.

He caved in early this month when he said the base would stay on Okinawa, citing the need for a strong US military presence for regional security.

On Okinawa, which has chafed under a heavy US military presence since the end of World War II, his about-turn sparked widespread anger.

The row has also strained ties with the United States and eroded domestic support for Hatoyama, whose approval ratings have dived into the low 20 percent range amid charges of dithering and weak leadership.

Social Democrat leader Mizuho Fukushima, a cabinet member who serves as the minister of consumer protection, has pledged that she will oppose any official statements naming Henoko as the relocation site for the Futenma base.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

1Like our page
2Share
Asia
TOKYO — Japan and the United States are expected Friday to officially resolve a row over an unpopular US airbase on Okinawa island that has strained ties and threatened to splinter the ruling coalition in Tokyo.
base,Okinawa,resolution,expansion
387
2010-16-27
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved