US to hasten return of Okinawa military-held land to Japan
TOKYO — U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and a top Japanese official have announced an agreement to speed up the return of land held by the U.S. military on the southern island of Okinawa.
The plan announced Friday appears aimed at soothing local resentment over work to relocate the U.S. Futenma base from one part of the island to a less densely populated area. Many local residents want the base moved out of Okinawa.
The U.S. is to return 7 hectares (17 acres) of land by March 2018 out of a total of 1,048 hectares (2,590 acres) to be returned eventually under earlier agreements.
The central government is suing Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, seeking to overturn his cancellation of an earlier approval for land reclamation needed to move Futenma.
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