Hatoyama Makes U-turn on Okinawa Stance

Japan’s embattled Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama faced a barrage of criticism on Wednesday after his U-turn on the relocation of a US base, with calls mounting for him to quit ahead of key elections in July.

Major newspapers railed against his decision to scrap plans to move an unpopular US airbase entirely off the island of Okinawa after months of dithering over the issue that angered close ally Washington.

“The government’s recent disarray appears shameful,” the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said in an editorial. “Needless to say, Prime Minister Hatoyama bears the greatest responsibility.”

On his first visit to the sub-tropical island since he took office in September, Hatoyama on Tuesday apologized for his failure to meet his pledge to remove the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Okinawa.

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