Japan to craft new US base plan by year-end: Report

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    Feb 23, 2009
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    Japan to craft new US base plan by year-end: Report

    REUTERS 23 October 2009, 07:02am IST

    TOKYO: Japan will inform US President Barack Obama during his visit to Tokyo next month that it will come up with a new plan by the end of theyear to relocate a US air base within the southern island of Okinawa, the Sankei newspaper reported on Friday.

    The report comes days after the US defense secretary bluntly called for a planned realignment of US troops in Japan to be implemented, sparking concern about worsening ties between Washington and Japan's new government.

    A broad deal to reorganise US forces in Japan was agreed in 2006 between Washington and Japan's long-dominant conservative party, which was ousted by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's Democratic Party in an August election.

    Central to the deal is a plan to move the functions of the Futenma air base to northern Okinawa, while shifting 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the US territory of Guam, partly at Japan's expense. Japan is host to about 47,000 US military personnel as part of the decades-old security alliance.

    Hatoyama had said he wants the base moved off the island, where many complain about crime, noise, pollution and accidents associated with US bases, but US officials have ruled that out, saying it would undermine broader security agreements.

    The Sankei reported that the government plans to come up with a new relocation site within Okinawa, citing unidentified government sources.

    Hatoyama said on Thursday that Japan needed more time before making a decision on the Futenma base issue and that he did not regard Obama's Nov. 12-13 visit as the deadline for Japan to reach a conclusion.

    "It's about how both sides avoid risks. There is no need to rush," Hatoyama was quoted as saying on Friday by Kyodo News Agency.

    Japan to craft new US base plan by year-end: Report - Rest of World - World - The Times of India

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