U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa in Tokyo this week. The two sides failed to resolve differences over the relocation of a U.S. military base on Okinawa Island. Under a 2006 bilateral agreement, the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in the urban area of Ginowan (southern part of the Island) would move to the shore area of Camp Schwab, in Nago (northeastern part of the island).
Mr. Gates reiterated that the present plan is the only feasible one, although he hinted that the U.S. might accept an alternative — floated by the Okinawa prefectural government — to move the proposed site at Camp Schwab about 50 meters toward the sea. He also stressed that unless the Futenma air facility is moved to Camp Schwab, the plan to move some 8,000 U.S. Marines and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam will not go ahead.
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