Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba on Thursday told Yamaguchi Prefecture Gov Sekinari Nii that a U.S. proposal to transfer 1,500 Marines from Okinawa to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Iwakuni Air Station in the prefecture will not take place.
The U.S. first made the proposal in February as part of a revised plan on the realignment of its forces in Japan.
Nii said the prefecture was firmly opposed to accepting any more U.S. military personnel, TBS reported.
Nii also said that the city will sell a plot of land to the Defense Ministry, which had been held up due to the U.S. proposal, which Washington dropped during vice ministerial talks this week.
The latest development means that more Marines will stay in Okinawa than had originally been planned.
The issue remains a contentious one between the two countries and is likely to top the agenda when Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visits Washington in May for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama.© Japan Today