15:05 GMT02 March 2021
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    Washington is confident that both the United States and Japan are committed to relocating a US military base in Okinawa Prefecture, following Japan’s announcement on Tuesday about the suspension of work for a month, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — More than half of the 47,000 US troops deployed in Japan are based in Okinawa. Military sites are estimated to account for nearly 18 percent of the prefecture’s entire land mass.

    “We are confident that both sides remain committed to implementing the relocation of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Camp Schwab in Henoko Bay.”

    The spokesperson added that the United States is in close contact with Japan’s government on the issue.

    On Tuesday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced Tokyo will suspend work on the relocation of a US military base in Okinawa Prefecture for 30 days to ease tensions with local authorities.

    Suga said the postponement of the planned relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma takes effect on Monday, August 10.

    He also confirmed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was scheduled to meet Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga on Friday.

    Onaga, the relocation plan’s staunch opponent, pledged in July to revoke his predecessor’s approval.

    Construction plans for the MCAS’ relocation from Ginowan to the less populated Henoko coastal area have sparked intermittent clashes over environmental concerns and opposition to the US military presence in Japan.

    Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and his US counterpart Ashton Carter reaffirmed the relocation plan, part of a 2006 intergovernmental agreement, this April.

    US Marine Corps, Japan, US, Okinawa
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