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Foreign Minister promises to push land, bases return

Date Posted: 2012-03-30

Japan’s Foreign Minister has made a promise to Okinawans, assuring this southernmost prefecture he’s working hard to make return of land now used for five American military bases.

Koichiro Genba said during a weekend visit to Okinawa “I would like to make efforts so that it will be realized as soon as possible.” Genba was referring to the return of land in central and southern parts of Okinawa Island now used for military bases. He cautioned though that some time may be necessary for the return, noting “procedures such as those concerning the transfer of U.S. Marines from Okinawa will come first.”

Camp Foster, one of the five U.S. bases involved in the land return, was on his visit schedule. While here, he talked about “producing results, so we will try to narrow the difference in view between the prefectural and central governments,” explaining he wants to change attitudes toward keeping Futenma Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa.

He predicted public opposition to the American bases would dissipate or change “if the central government moves to resolve the long-standing issue and produces results.

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