Kitazawa says relocation plan be ready by May
Japan's Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told a visiting senior US lawmaker that Japan will decide on the relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa by May, in a manner acceptable to the United States.
Kitazawa met US Senator Jim Webb on Monday at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo. Webb chairs the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Webb said the United States understands the need to reduce excessive burden that US bases impose on Okinawa.
He also stressed the need for the public to understand the shared security interest in maintaining the bilateral alliance, and the importance of the US military presence in preserving stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Kitazawa replied that the Hatoyama administration will reach a conclusion by the end of May. He said he hopes to arrive at the best possible conclusion in the limited time period.
Earlier in the day, Webb met with Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and said Japan-US relations are firm enough to overcome any difficulties that may arise between the 2 countries.
Webb added he is confident that the United States can look forward to a conclusion from Japan that will be favorable to both nations.