Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga vowed Friday to promote mutual understanding on issues related to the planned relocation of a U.S. military base within Okinawa Prefecture through "intensive consultations" starting next week.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting at the prime minister's office, Onaga quoted Abe as telling him the two sides "have locked horns until today, but I would like to deepen discussions during the consultations."

The consultations are part of efforts to defuse tensions between the national and local government over the U.S.-Japan plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a densely populated area in Ginowan to the less populated Henoko district of Nago.