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Marines want its Futenma planes moved to Iwakuni

Date Posted: 2006-02-04

The US Marines are calling for a change in plans on where to redeploy its refueling tanker planes from Okinawa.

An agreement last fall between the U.S. and Japan called for the KC-130 air refueling planes to move to Kagoshima Prefecture to a Maritime Self Defense Force base in Kanoya. Initial reaction to that plan has met with local opposition.

Japanese government officials are reportedly cool to the American proposal, fearful that any modifications to the plan announced in October could lead to a wholesale unraveling of the agreement. There is concern the final bases and troops realignment document slated for signing in March, could be delayed if the tanker plane issue is pushed by American authorities.

Ironically, the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa report, which addressed the Futenma relocation issue, specified the planes should be moved to the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Iwakuni. Japanese officials say they’re perplexed as to why the Americans want to change the program at this late date.

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