JAPAN LEADER BACKPEDALS ON MILITARY BASE

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Says complelte relocation to Guam ‘unreasonable’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 28, 2009) – Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama says relocating entirely a controversial US airbase from southern Japan to Guam is "unreasonable".

Mr Hatoyama says it wouldn't be practical to shift the whole base from Okinawa to the US-controlled Pacific Ocean territory.

The relocation of the base has caused tension between Tokyo and Washington.

In 2006, Tokyo and Washington agreed to move the Okinawa base out to a coastal region, away from the population.

The agreement also included the redeployment of around 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the US territory of Guam.

Soon after coming to power, Mr Hatoyama's centre-left government announced a review of the agreement.

But speaking to Japanese radio on Saturday, Mr Hatoyama appeared to backtrack on his desire to relocate the base entirely.

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