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U.S. senator displeased at Futenma base decision

Date Posted: 2012-02-15

U.S. Senator Carl Levin has expressed displeasure at a decision by the Japanese and U.S. governments to keep alive their plan for the relocation of a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, southern Japan.

‘The new thinking is not yet going far enough,’ Levin, (D-Michigan), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a panel hearing. Levin said ‘There appears to be no intention of reconsidering’ the Futenma base relocation plan. Japan and the United States have now decided that the current plan is ‘the only viable way forward,’ referring to their agreement to relocate the Futenma base in Ginowan to Nago in the north of the prefecture.

Levin was among those who have pushed for a different plan, under which the functions of the Futenma base will be integrated into the U.S. Air Force's existing Kadena airbase.

Still, the announcement by the Japanese and U.S. governments is ‘welcome news,’ he said. It ‘demonstrates a willingness to address issues about the level of our troop presence on Okinawa without conditioning the movement of Marines off of Okinawa to progress on the Futenma replacement facility.’

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