U.S. OFFICIAL: OKINAWA MOVE UNLIKELY BY 2014

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Japan’s current leader wants to review plans

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 17, 2009) – The Chief US diplomat for the Pacific says it's unlikely 8,000 Marines will be relocated from Japan to Guam by the 2014 deadline because of a decision by Japan's Prime Minister.

In 2006 the US and Japan made a pact to relocate the Futenma base to a less crowded part of Okinawa, but Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama says he will take until next year to review the decision made by the previous government.

The plan includes the movement of 8,000 troops to Guam.

The United States Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas, Tony Babauta says he believes the move will go ahead, but it will take longer than originally thought.

"I don't know that it puts a question mark on whether or not everything will occur. There is currently challenges we are facing with recent decisions made by the Japanese Prime Minister," he said.

"It just tends to slow down the momentum that has been building to try to prepare for the movement of marines, both on the federal government side and the local government side."

"I think it kind of stretches out the time line right now."

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