PM Apologizes: US Airbase to Stay in Okinawa

May 24, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama walks past a banner which reads 'Keep the pledge!' in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, after his meeting with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and 12 mayors on May 23. Hatoyama apologized for breaking his election pledge to move an unpopular US military base off Okinawa. (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama walks past a banner which reads 'Keep the pledge!' in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, after his meeting with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and 12 mayors on May 23. Hatoyama apologized for breaking his election pledge to move an unpopular US military base off Okinawa. (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama apologized to Okinawa residents yesterday for failing to keep his election promise to move the U.S. Futenma airbase out of the prefecture.

"I offer my heartfelt apology for causing confusion to the people of the prefecture in the process of being unable to keep the promise to move it out of the prefecture," he said, according to the Japan Times.

After months of back and forth about where to relocate, that angered Washington, Japan came up with a new agreement to relocate Futenma to less populated land at Cape Henoko in Nago, a city in the northern Okinawa.

The move angered local residents and Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima said the prime minister “betrayed” Okinawa, reported the Japan Times.