15:14 GMT +317 November 2019
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    US helicopters and planes parked at Futenma US Marine Base in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture (File)

    US, Japan Confirm Plans to Relocate Base on Okinawa Despite Public Opposition

    © AFP 2019 / TORU YAMANAKA
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States and Japan have reconfirmed their plans to relocate the US Marine Corps base on Okinawa to a less populated area, the US Department of State said in a press release on Friday.

    "The Ministers… welcomed the significant progress on the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) and reconfirmed that the plan to construct the FRF at the Camp Schwab-Henokosaki area and adjacent waters is the only solution that avoids the continued use of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma," the release said. "The Ministers underscored their strong determination to achieve its completion as soon as possible."

    Meanwhile, the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee 2019 Fact Sheet released by the State Department said that the US and Japan are determined to start relocating US forces from Okinawa to Guam in the first half of the next decade.

    "The Ministers welcomed progress in the steady implementation of the Guam International Agreement, and the planned relocation of approximately 9,000 US Marine Corps personnel from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan," the fact sheet said. "They reconfirmed the plan to begin the relocation to Guam in the first half of the 2020s."

    READ MORE: Japanese Foreign Ministry Protests Over US Serviceman Killing Woman in Okinawa

    Earlier on Friday, the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee, which included US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting US Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Toro Kono, and Japanese Minister of Defence Takeshi Iwaya, convened in Washington, DC, the release added.

    The plan is to relocate the US air base from the prefecture's city of Ginowan to a less populated area, Henoko Bay.

    Denny Tamaki, the governor of Japan's southern Okinawa Prefecture, told Sputnik on April 10 that he was considering a visit to the United States in order to convey the opposition of the prefecture's residents to the relocation of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma expressed in the latest referendum.

    In a February referendum more than 72 percent of Okinawa residents voted against the plan to relocate the base. The referendum saw a 52 percent turnout.

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    Tags:
    Military Base, relocation, Okinawa protests, Takeshi Iwaya, Patrick Shanahan, Mike Pompeo, Okinawa, Guam, Japan, United States
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