Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda arrived in Okinawa on Sunday for a two-day visit to explain the revised plan to realign U.S. forces in Japan.
It is Noda's first visit to the prefecture since he became prime minister last September.
Noda will meet Okinawan Gov Hirokazu Nakaima on Monday and plans to visit the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in Ginowan. Noda will also meet newly elected Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, 47, who has called for the Futenma base to be moved to another prefecture.
Noda said in the Diet on Friday that the government will do its best to make sure that the Futenma base is relocated, while at the same time maintaining a deterrence capability in Okinawa, NTV reported.
Currently, 74% of the U.S. bases are located in Okinawa. Noda said he wants to reduce the burden on Okinawa.
The central government and Okinawa have been locked in a stalemate over the relocation of the Futenma base to a less populated site at Nago.
The news that Tokyo and Washington have agreed to move 4,700 Marines from Okinawa to Guam in a bid to revive a stalled plan for the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, has left Okinawans wondering what is going to happen to the U.S. air base at Futenma.
Noda said last week that he was aware of growing anxiety in Okinawa that the Futenma base may end up being left where it is, but said that the government will do all it can to make sure the base is moved.
Noda said he also intends to apologize for the lack of communication as well as inappropriate remarks made by ministers and government officials.© Japan Today/AP