15:20 GMT +319 August 2019
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    The new MV-22 Ospreys are seen at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa.

    Japan PM, Okinawa Governor Agree to Resume Talks on US Base Future

    © AP Photo / Eric Talmadge
    Asia & Pacific
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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and governor of the southern Okinawa island Takeshi Onaga agreed on Friday to resume negotiations on the future of the US Marine Base Futenma, media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In November, the Japanese government filed a lawsuit against Onaga, after he refused to fulfill Tokyo's recommendations to accept the relocation of the US base in Okinawa's densely populated Ginowan city to the Henoko coastal area of Nago city. In response, Onaga launched a retaliatory lawsuit against the Tokyo administration in December.

    According to the New York Times, both sides will take the dispute out of the court, but if the new round of talks fails and the matter eventually ends up in court again, they will accept any ruling issued by a judge.

    In the mid 1990s, Tokyo and Washington agreed to move Futenma to some other place if Tokyo builds an alternative facility. Tokyo plans envision the base to be closed by February 2019 and relocated within the Okinawa prefecture.

    Previous Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima approved landfill work to move the base to Henoko, but Onaga won against him in 2014 and promised to veto the work needed for the new base to be built, and repeatedly insisted that Futenma should be moved outside of Okinawa.

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    Futenma, Takeshi Onaga, Shinzo Abe, Japan, Okinawa
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