U.S. repeats view that Japan should implement agreed base relocation
December 08 2009 12:22
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 KYODO
The United States on Monday reiterated its view that Japan should relocate a key U.S. military base within Okinawa Prefecture as agreed under a bilateral deal.
''There is a position, because there's an agreement. I think that's what both the sides reiterated,'' White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.
The remarks came after Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Tokyo will inform the United States of its policy on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station in Okinawa by Dec. 18, when he may meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Copenhagen.
Gibbs declined to make further comments, saying he doesn't have ''anything more to add'' than what Obama and Hatoyama discussed at their previous summit in Tokyo last month.
Amid mounting pressure from Washington, speculation is growing that Japan will basically stick to the existing deal agreed upon in 2006 between Japan and the United States to relocate the facility to the coastal area of the Henoko district in Nago, another Okinawa city, by 2014.
The planned relocation of the Futemma facility is part of a broad Japan-U.S. accord on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and is linked to the transfer of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, which is another key realignment plan in the package.