NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) The U.S. Marine Corps invited Japanese and U.S. reporters Sunday to board the amphibious assault ship USS Essex about 30 km south of Okinawa Island.

Helicopters from Futenma air station in Okinawa, a contentious facility that Japan and the United States are trying to move, were seen taking off and landing on the deck of the roughly 40,000-ton ship, which was about to depart for joint drills with Thailand.

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