Tokyo, Nov. 18 (Jiji Press)--The partial return of land used for a U.S. military training site in Okinawa Prefecture, southwestern Japan, has been set for Dec. 22, Japanese government officials said Friday.
It will be the largest return of U.S.-occupied land since the 1972 reversion of Okinawa to Japan.
Through the event, the Japanese government hopes to highlight its efforts to reduce the burden on Okinawa of hosting many U.S. bases, and win support from local residents for the planned relocation of the Marine Corps' Futenma air station within the prefecture.
The area to be returned, totaling some 4,000 hectares, accounts for about half of the Camp Gonsalves training site, which straddles the villages of Kunigami and Higashi, and about 20 pct of all U.S. military areas in Okinawa.
The Japanese and U.S. governments plan to hold a ceremony, likely on Dec. 20, to mark the land return.