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Wednesday, 22nd December 2010
In General Japan News,

Japan apologies over US military base

Japan's government has apologised to the residents of Okinawa Island for not removing a US military base from the region.

Foreign minister Seiji Maehara met with the island's governor Hirokazu Nakaima to say sorry for not keeping to a previous election promise.

"I offer my heartfelt apology to the people of Okinawa," said Mr Maehara.

In May, the government has promised the US that it would honour a 2006 commitment to relocate the air station from the Futenma base to another location on the island.

However, the current ruling centre-left Democratic Party had promised voters to move the base completely from Okinawa but after failing to find another site it was forced to reverse its commitment.

Local residents have partaken in a number of several protests against the US military presence on the island. They believe the base creates noise pollution and is linked to crime in the region.

Japan recently announced plans to strengthen is current defence policy following a rise in territory disputes with China.

Written by Susan Ballion.

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