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No Change to U.S. Position on Futenma Air Station Move

Date Posted: 2004-03-19

A key State Department official is denying there are plans afoot to change itís position of the need for Futenma Air Station in Ginowan.

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says America is still committed to the 1996 accord with Japan on the relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture.

Armitage says "At present, we are still committed to a SACO agreement." He was referring to a report adopted in 1996 by the Special Action Committee on Okinawa for consolidation of U.S. bases in Okinawa.

That SACO report called for the Futenma base site in Ginowan to be returned within five to seven years, after "adequate replacement facilities are completed and operational." Japan decided in 2002 to build a new military-civilian airport on reclaimed land off the northern Okinawa city of Nago to take over the helicopter operations of the Futenma base. The project is in limbo because of environmental and political challenges.

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