LDP not to include support for U.S. base relocation plan in pledges

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party may refrain from expressing support for the planned relocation of a U.S. military base within Okinawa Prefecture in its campaign pledges for this summer's upper house election, a senior LDP official said Monday.

In February, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is president of the LDP, and U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed the plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station from the city of Ginowan to the less populated Henoko area on Okinawa Island as early as possible.

But the LDP may have to take into account its Okinawa chapter's plan to call for the base to be relocated outside of the prefecture, the senior LDP official said.

The campaign pledges may include the promotion of measures to reduce the burden on Okinawa from hosting U.S. bases and to develop the prefecture, the official said.

In the run-up to last December's lower house election, the LDP also fell short of expressly stating its support for the base relocation plan, allowing LDP candidates in Okinawa to insist that the base be relocated outside the prefecture.