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PM in Okinawa never touches on Futenma issue

In a ceremony to commemorate those who died in the Battle of Okinawa near the end of World War II, Prime Minister Kan Naoto said that Okinawan peoplefs burdens associated with the presence of U.S. military bases there ghave contributed to Asia-Pacific peace and regional stability.h

The ceremony was held by the prefectural government with 5,500 attendants at the Peace Memorial Park in Okinawafs Itoman City on June 23 marking the 65th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa in which one out of every four Okinawan citizens died.

Kan, on his first visit to Okinawa after assuming office as prime minister, attended the ceremony but avoided touching on the Futenma base relocation issue in his speech.

In contrast, Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Chair Takamine Zenshin in his speech said, gIt is absolutely disappointing that the central government canft even manage the return of one U.S. military facility, the Futenma base.h

Okinawa War-Bereaved Family United Association head Nakasone Yoshihisa stated, gThe recent Japan-U.S. agreement is unacceptable based on the principle of opposing any activity leading to war.h

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Later on the same day, Prime Minister Kan held talks with Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu.

In the meeting, regarding the bilateral agreement, Nakaima said, gIt is extremely deplorable. In the prefecture, peoplefs opposition to moving the Futenma base within the prefecture has intensified.h He, however, expressed his willingness to continue to exchange views with the central government.

Kan just replied, gBased on the Japan-U.S. agreement, I will do my best to reduce Okinawanfs burdens.h

- Akahata, June 24, 2010

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