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U.S. Plans high level Futenma Talks soon

Date Posted: 2012-01-28

The Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs is preparing for a Japan visit to discuss the relocation of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to northern Okinawa.

Kurt Campbell says he will visit Japan soon to discuss the planned relocation of Futenma, accompanied by Peter Lavoy, principal Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. ‘There are clearly challenges that we face in Okinawa,’ Campbell said, citing budget issues on the U.S. side for the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station.

Okinawa strongly opposes the plan to move the Futenma base in Ginowan to the Henoko coastal area of Nago City, ‘But I think the U.S. and the Japanese governments are determined to make a push in 2012 to work closely together,’ Campbell added, noting that he and Lavoy will discuss ‘the way forward’ in their talks with Japanese counterparts.

While he underscored the importance of the bilateral alliance as the foundation for how the United States operates in Asia as a whole, Campbell pointed to the revolving-door leadership of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

‘What's difficult is finally when you start to get the measure of the man or the person that you then have a new leader,’ he said. ‘This is its third leader and I don't know how many foreign ministers we've had’ since the DPJ took power just over two years ago, Campbell noted.
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Speaking about Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Campbell said ‘I have to say on some level we are really rooting for him.’ The State Department Asia specialist said ‘It is not simply because we think he is an able leader which we do but it is also the case that you want to start to build up a track record with the leadership of Japan.’

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