22/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 09:59

Japan PM Hatoyama apologises over Okinawa U-turn

Category: Headlines

Published: 23rd May 2010 08:19:43

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has apologised for not keeping an election promise to move a US military base from Okinawa.

Mr Hatoyama travelled to the island and met local governor Hirokazu Nakaima.

Like many locals, the governor is opposed to the US presence and said the prime minister's decision would be "difficult to accept".

Japan and the US, allies since the end of World War II, say the base is needed to guarantee regional security.

The prime minister promised to move the base off the island during the campaign for last year's election which swept his Democratic Party of Japan to power.

But he said that after holding talks within Japan and with the US, the Futenma base had to remain on Okinawa although it would move to the less populated coastal district of Henoko - in line with a plan announced in 2006.

Humiliating climbdown

He said that the base was needed because the "security environment in East Asia remains fragile", pointing to heightened tensions in the Korean peninsular.

"I apologise to people in Okinawa as I could not keep to my word," the prime minister said.

"I must tell you that your decision is extremely regrettable and very difficult to accept," a grim-faced Mr Nakaima replied.

Outside, demonstrators chanted: "Hatoyama go home."

Last month, nearly 100,000 people staged a protest on the southern island, demanding that the 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.

The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says it is a humiliating climbdown for Mr Hatoyama.

Our correspondent says the search for an alternative location has proved fruitless.

Polls suggest Mr Hatoyama has been losing popularity in recent months and analysts say this decline is likely to be exacerbated by his U-turn over Okinawa.

Elections to the upper house of parliament are due in July.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. Japan PM Hatoyama apologises over Okinawa U-turn [Online] (Updated 23rd May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/61699/Japan-PM-Hatoyama-apologises-over-Okinawa-U-turn [Accessed 22nd Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Belfast remembers people who have died through substance addiction

    On 21 July each year, people throughout the world come together to remember those who have lost their lives through drugs or alcohol addiction.
  • MH17 bodies leave Ukraine rebel area and reach Kharkhiv

    A train with the remains of victims of the Malaysian airliner which crashed in Ukraine has arrived in the city of Kharkhiv, outside rebel territory.
  • Ambulance 999 timewasters 'risk lives'

    Calls about a man with a fly in his ear, a woman with a green potato and a child who drank from a dog's bowl are putting genuine emergencies at risk, the Welsh Ambulance Service has warned.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Thomas Berger, Little Big Man author, dies aged 89

    US author Thomas Berger, whose novel Little Big Man reimagined the American West, has died at the age of 89.
  • Footballer Tyrone Mings vows 'to buy shirts for fans'

    A footballer has been praised for a "great gesture" after pledging to buy new shirts for fans who had his old squad number printed on their new kits.