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US, Japan Fail to Agree on Base Deal

Japan and the United States have failed to reach an agreement on the relocation of the US Marine Corps's Futenma Air Station in Okinawa during bilateral talks, the Yomiuri Shimbun on Monday quoted Japan's former defense chief as saying.

"I kept the Okinawan people's demand in mind, but it's difficult to meet the demand if we consider the geographical significance of Okinawa and its value as a deterrent," Ono, said Saturday in Naha, Okinawa, where he tried to win understanding for the plan.

Tokyo and Washington approved in October a realignment plan of US troops in Japan, under which the Futenman Air Station's function is to be moved from the south of the island to Camp Schwab in Nago in the prefecture.

However, the plan has evoked strong criticism in Okinawa, where residents want the troops out of the island altogether.

Okinawa hosts around half of the 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan. Local people have long protested social problems and crimes associated with the bases.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2005)

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