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Okinawa official to visit Washington over Futenma relocation issue

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The head of the Okinawa prefectural governor's executive office said Monday he will visit Washington this week to discuss the contentious issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.

Susumu Matayoshi told reporters he will meet with staff from the departments of State and Defense during his visit from Wednesday to Friday to explain Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima's recent decision to approve landfill work at the planned relocation site in the Henoko coastal area of Nago, Okinawa, and the governor's continued pledge to move the base out of the prefecture entirely.

Last month, Nakaima approved the landfill work, a step toward building a replacement facility for the Futenma base in a crowded residential area of Ginowan, southern Okinawa, despite local opposition.

Matayoshi said he will communicate Okinawa's requests for the closure of the base within the next five years and a review of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.

He also intends to exchange opinions with the U.S. officials on Nago's recent re-election of Mayor Susumu Inamine, who is opposed to moving the military base to the city.

==Kyodo

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/140127/okinawa-official-visit-washington-over-futenma-relocat