Japan mayors rebuff PM Hatoyama's Okinawa alternatives
Published: 7th May 2010 15:57:47
Officials from a Japanese island have rejected the prime minister's proposal that they host US troops relocated from an unpopular base in Okinawa.
The move by the mayors of Tokunoshima is a further blow to PM Yukio Hatoyama's effort to deal with the controversial Futenma US marine base.
Earlier this week, he conceded that his election pledge to close the facility completely was "unfeasible".
Okinawa is home to more than half the 47,000 American troops based in Japan.
Mr Hatoyama told the three mayors from Tokunoshima he would be "grateful" if they would accept some of the facilities he wishes to be relocated from Okinawa.
But one of the mayors, Kosuke Ohisa, told him the island was "categorically opposed to the relocation".
When he asked whether he could visit the island to negotiate further, Mr Hatoyama was told: "We cannot meet you."
The prime minister had initially said he wanted to close the Futenma base entirely, and had given himself until the end of May to resolve the issue.
But on Tuesday, he conceded that it was impossible to close it completely on the grounds of national security, prompting angry reactions.
The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says time is running out for Mr Hatoyama and his options are narrowing.
His apparent dithering could cost him his job, with elections for Japan's upper house of parliament due in July, says our correspondent.
Mr Hatoyama's approval ratings have plummeted in recent weeks and support for his centre-left government has been undermined.
Last month, nearly 100,000 people staged a protest on the southern island, demanding that the Futenma base be removed.
Islanders have been angered by incidents involving US troops based there, including the 1995 rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl and a helicopter crash in 2004.
Other complaints have focused on noise levels and objections to the US military use of Japanese land.
The row has also damaged Tokyo's relationship with the US.
Okinawa is the focal point of the security treaty between the US and Japan which has balanced military power in north-east Asia since World War II.
Under the pact, Japan - which is prevented from maintaining a war-ready army by its constitution - subsidises the US military presence while the US guarantees Japan's security.
At 00:59:22 in PoliticsA "badly managed" Home Office scheme resulted in asylum seekers being placed in "unacceptably poor" housing, the Public Accounts Committee has said.
At 00:48:17 in HeadlinesSouth Sudan's President Salva Kiir has sacked the head of the army.
At 00:39:06 in EnglandThe decline of some regional English dialects has been mourned for years but now sign language is being hit by the same trend. Researchers say regional variations that produced 22 different ways of signing the word "purple" are dying out.
At 00:29:16 in HeadlinesFormula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is set to appear at the start of a trial on bribery charges in Munich.
At 00:16:58 in BusinessEnergy grids across the world are struggling to cope with a surge in demand for electricity and increasingly volatile supply from renewable power sources.
At 00:11:50 in SportEighteen-time US Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps says concerns about weight gain were behind his decision to return to the sport.
At 00:09:32 in BusinessBeckford's Tower stands proudly on the hills overlooking the spa city of Bath, a monument to eccentricity and wealth.
At 00:01:40 in TechnologyDrones are becoming more common in our skies, performing a variety of tasks, from taking photos to monitoring crops and potentially even delivering broadband.
At 00:01:37 in HeadlinesBritish counter-terrorism police chiefs are making an unprecedented appeal to Muslim women to urge men against travelling to possibly fight in Syria.
At 23:52:22 in SportA turbulent three days for Manchester United has ended with them fending off allegations of unprofessionalism labelled against them by the League Managers Association (LMA).
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Japan mayors rebuff PM Hatoyama's Okinawa alternatives [Online] (Updated 7th May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/57844/Japan-mayors-rebuff-PM-Hatoyamas-Okinawa-alternatives [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
US actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
Drones are becoming more common in our skies, performing a variety of tasks, from taking photos to monitoring crops and potentially even delivering broadband.
Griff Rhys Jones has withdrawn from becoming Cardiff University's new chancellor just two weeks after an embarrassing debacle which saw his appointment halted at the last minute.
The Irish education minister has proposed a radical shake-up of the further education sector.