US Marine base staying in Okinawa

Japan’s government will keep a US military base on Okinawa, meeting the demands of the Obama administration, even if that means alienating a coalition partner and local people, a vice defense minister said.

Okinawan residents, who want the Marine base moved off the island, will be offered compensation in return for accepting the government’s decision, Akihisa Nagashima, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday, without elaborating. His remarks are the most definitive by a member of the government indicating that Japan will keep the facility on Okinawa.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has set a May deadline for settling a dispute that has overshadowed the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan security treaty. Almost 50,000 US military personnel are stationed in Japan, more than half living on Okinawa, 950 miles south of Tokyo.

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