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Wednesday, 12th May 2010
In General Japan News,

Letter urges Hatoyama to "not lose sight" on US bases

An open letter to the Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama from the editor in chief of Asahi Shimbun, Yoichi Funabashi, has called for the leader to "not lose sight" on the need for more talks on the "big picture" of having US troops stationed in Japan.

The US and Japan are currently embroiled in an ongoing dispute over the location of a controversial American military base, which is on the island of Okinawa.

Under a 2006 agreement, the base is to be moved elsewhere but the prime minister promised to remove it all together in his election campaign - something which Washington will not agree with.

In his letter, Funabashi also warned of the dangers of letting the dispute run on.

"The longer the Futenma issue remains unresolved, the greater is the danger that the inability to draw up a strategic framework for closer co-existence with China could give life to saber-rattling about a growing Chinese threat," he claimed.

Written by Kimberley Homer.