PM Won’t Entirely Move U.S. Air Base

May 4, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama listens to local residents who live beside the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma during their dialogue meeting in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on May 4. Hatoyama abandoned a plan to move the unpopular U.S. airbase entirely off Okinawa Island, backtracking on a key election pledge after months of dithering that angered Washington. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama listens to local residents who live beside the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma during their dialogue meeting in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on May 4. Hatoyama abandoned a plan to move the unpopular U.S. airbase entirely off Okinawa Island, backtracking on a key election pledge after months of dithering that angered Washington. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama yesterday informed residents near the U.S. Marine Corps Air Base Futenma, on Okinawa, that his administration will not be able to relocate the entire station off the island as he had promised during his election campaign.

The prime minister asked residents to “share the burden” of the base, according to the Japan Times, which also reported that when Hatoyama became prime minister last September, he strained ties with Washington by saying he would relocate Futenma out Okinawa prefecture altogether.

Hatoyama apologized to residents and said plans for the Futenma move have not been finalized. Located in the middle of Futenma city, the base is a noisy disturbance and source of pollution for nearby residents, and affects the city’s infrastructure.