Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga on Friday welcomed the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly’s decision to support the relocation of the U.S. military port facility in Naha to neighboring Urasoe.”I understand that local businesses (in Urasoe) want to gain the port facility. I will keep watching the situation with a lot of hope,” Nukaga told reporters.The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly passed the resolution Thursday to promote the transfer of the Naha Port Facility to Urasoe. It was submitted by the local chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party. The decision was the first ever made by the assembly to promote relocation of a U.S. military facility within the prefecture.The local chamber of commerce and industry in Urasoe has proposed a plan to build a public port that can be used jointly by U.S. forces off the city’s coast as an alternative to the return of the Naha port. The relocation of the 568,000-sq. meter Naha port, currently controlled by the U.S. military, has been discussed since 1974 by the two governments. However, negotiations have long been deadlocked due to local opposition to allowing a new U.S. facility in the prefecture.

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