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US, Japan at odds on military deal

Posted by smeddum on September 1, 2009

US, Japan at odds on military deal

Tue, 01 Sep 2009


Okinawans want the US troops be withdrawn from the island.

The US says it will not renegotiate a deal on its military bases with the incoming Japanese government, which has vowed to establish a new era in the US military presence in the country.

The announcement was made Monday after repeated calls from Japan’s likely next Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, on Washington to completely dismantle the Futenma air base, which is located in a densely populated area of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

Under a 2005 deal — between Japan’s then-ruling conservatives and the administration of former US President, George W. Bush — Futenma’s facilities would be gradually moved — over a period of nine years — to another airfield in a quiet part of Okinawa.

The decision was made following strong protests by Okinawans over the rape of a local schoolgirl by three US servicemen stationed at Futenma air base.

The two sides also agreed to shift 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the US territory of Guam by 2014, with Japan paying 2.8 billion dollars for the transfer.

“The United States has no intention of renegotiating the Futenma replacement facility plan or Guam relocation with the government of Japan,” US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

The US has about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan with nearly half of them on Okinawa.

Yukio Hatoyama –whose Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won by a landslide at the polls on Sunday, ending the Liberal Democratic Party’s fifty-year rule — has vowed to take Tokyo away from the ‘excesses of US-style capitalism’ while developing an “equal relationship” with Washington.

The US military presence in Japan has a long history of opposition with many calling for the removal of all US military bases from the country.


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