U.S. Military Base Plans Threatened by New Mayor of Japanese Town

The recent election of a new mayor in a small town on the Japanese island of Okinawa has severely threatened plans to build a new U.S. military base in the town.
January 25, 2010, 10am PST | Nate Berg
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The new mayor had campaigned on a staunch no-base platform, and his election has thrown a curve ball at what the U.S. military thought was a plan set in stone. Now it may take the intervention of the Japanese prime minister to keep the base alive.

"The election in the small city of Nago could force Japan to scrap, or at least significantly modify, a 2006 deal with the United States to build a replacement facility in the city for the busy Futenma United States Marine air station. The base is currently in a crowded part of the southern Japanese island.

The fate of that deal has already become the focus of a growing diplomatic rift between the United States and Japan, its closest Asian ally. The Obama administration has been pushing Japan to honor the deal, but the new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has said he will take until May to decide whether to support it or name a new site for the base."

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Published on Sunday, January 24, 2010 in The New York Times
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