U.S. rejects idea of moving Futenma facility to Tokunoshima

19:45, April 22, 2010      

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The United States has rejected the idea of relocating its current air facility in Futenma, Okinawa Prefecture, to Tokunoshima, local media reported on Thursday.

The United States rejected the idea because it would leave the marines that would be based there too far away from other U.S. military personnel based in Okinawa.

The U.S. rejection will be a further blow to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which has seen its handling of relations with Washington stumble from crisis to crisis since coming to power at the end of the summer last year.

At issue is a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed by the United States and Japan in 2006. Under that agreement, marines currently based at the urban Futenma facility in Okinawa were to be moved to a more rural area. The DPJ has looked to review that agreement, much to the ire of the U.S. government.

Local populations in Okinawa and Tokunoshima have also been angered by the DPJ, seeing their actions as both indecisive and not in the interests of their communities.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said that he would like to see the government come to a decision on what to do about the SOFA agreement by the end of May, though as the date moves closer, the likelihood of that deadline been met is looking less likely.

Because of the SOFA issue, as well as a series of scandals that have connected senior cabinet politicians to illicit funds, the DPJ has seen its popularity plummet in recent months.

Source: Xinhua


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