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Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima welcomed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement Thursday that he would seek U.S. President Barack Obama’s cooperation in closing U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa within five years.

“The fact that both leaders shared a recognition about the importance of reducing the burden of the bases in Okinawa is, I think, significant,” Nakaima said in a statement Thursday evening.

There is considerable doubt in Okinawa, and in the Pentagon, as to whether Futenma can actually be closed within five years due to local opposition in Henoko further north on Okinawa to building a replacement base for Futenma.

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