US base shift ‘impossible’


Japan’s Prime Minister says moving all of a key US Marine base out of Okinawa is ”impossible”, breaking with past promises to move the base outside the southern island. It was the first time since Yukio Hatoyama became Prime Minister in September that he had officially acknowledged that at least part of Futenma Marine airfield would remain in Okinawa, which hosts more than half the 47,000 American troops based in Japan. Mr Hatoyama had frozen a 2006 agreement with Washington on moving Futenma to a less crowded part of the island, straining ties with the US. Yesterday he said ”it is impossible” to move all of the base out of its current location, saying that Okinawa must share some of the burden.