Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hatoyama nixes Futemma relocation to Guam, eyes alternative Japan site

Hatoyama nixes Futemma relocation to Guam, eyes alternative Japan site

Dec 26 09:44 AM US/Eastern
Kyodo News

(AP) - TOKYO, Dec. 26 (Kyodo) — Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama indicated Saturday he has given up the idea of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station in Okinawa to Guam, a remark that means the government will seek alternative sites in Japan as no other overseas location for hosting the U.S. military base is being considered.

On the request by the Social Democratic Party, a junior coalition partner of Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan, that all Futemma facilities be moved to Guam, the premier questioned the idea in a recording for a radio program.

"It looks as though having everything at Futemma transferred to the U.S. territory of Guam is unrealistic in light of the deterrence" provided by the U.S. forces, Hatoyama said.

"There was a time when we should have studied the possibility of total relocation (of Futemma Air Station) to Guam," Hatoyama said but suggested that now no other relocation to Guam is possible except the transfer of 8,000 U.S. Marine Corp troops as agreed between Japan and the United States.

The DPJ-led coalition has decided to delay naming a relocation site for the Futemma airfield despite pressure from the United States to stick to the deal agreed on under a 2006 bilateral accord. The agreement calls for the Futemma facility to be moved to Nago, another Okinawa city.

Expectations are growing among people in Okinawa that the government will seek to relocate the facility outside the prefecture in line with the DPJ's stance prior to the Aug. 30 House of Representatives election.

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