GINOWAN, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) Around 21,000 people protested against the planned relocation of a U.S. military airfield within Okinawa Prefecture on Sunday ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan, in a sign of growing local frustration over the new Japanese government’s vague stance in reviewing the transfer plan.

The protesters called for the immediate closure of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station located in a downtown residential area of Ginowan and urged Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to reject the transfer of the facility to a coastal zone in Nago, northern Okinawa, in his talks with Obama slated for Friday in Tokyo.

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