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Wednesday, 5th May 2010
In Events In Japan,

Hatoyama admits moving base off island "unrealistic"

Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama has admitted that it is unrealistic to expect the US to move its marine base off the Japanese island of Okinawa.

The controversial base has long caused disagreements between the two nations. It is home to more than half of the US troops stationed in Japan and under a 2006 agreement, it is to be moved to another location in the north of the island.

However, during the campaign in the run up to the election, Hatoyama pledged to remove the island base completely.

This caused ructions with the White House and now he has admitted that expecting the US to agree to this is "unrealistic".

Speaking to reporters, Hatoyama said: "In terms of deterrence, I have determined that transferring all of the functions at Futemma outside the prefecture or abroad is difficult."

Last week, more than 100,000 Japanese turned out to protest about the location of the base. It is unpopular with many local people who claim it causes pollution and excessive noise.

Written by Kimberley Homer.

Related news stories:
Hatoyama under pressure over US military base (4th May 2010)
Hatoyama shakes up Japanese politics (10th March 2010)