TOKYO — A controversial plan to move a U.S. Marine Corps base within Okinawa in southern Japan has been pushed back by two years, America’s top military official in the Pacific said.
Adm. Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said Tuesday that the shift of the Futenma air station to a less congested part of Okinawa island would not happen until 2025 because work on a new facility has been delayed.
“It’s slowed,” he told a congressional committee in Washington. “It’s a little over two years late. … Now we’re looking at 2025 before that’s done.”
The project faces stiff opposition from both protesters and the Okinawan prefectural government.
The Japanese government is building the air station, which will extend over the water from another Marine Corps base near the town of Henoko.
Survey work for the new facility is underway, but Japan suspended it for about two months last year in an unsuccessful attempt to work out a compromise with the Okinawan government.
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