Japan suspends work on U.S base on Okinawa

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Baku, August 4, AZERTAC

Japan said it was suspending construction of a contentious U.S. air base on the island of Okinawa for a month to give time for talks between the central government and island authorities opposed to the facility, according to Reuters.

Residents of Okinawa, the site of bloody battles between U.S. and Japanese forces near the end of World War Two, have long objected to tens of thousands of U.S. troops and U.S. military installations on 18 percent of their island.

The island's governor, Takeshi Onaga, won election last year largely on his stand against U.S. bases, and has accused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of looking down on the island and its people.

The government wants to move the U.S. Marines' Futenma base to another location on the southern island but Onaga and many residents want rid of it altogether.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the break in construction would enable the two sides to "thoroughly discuss" the issue.

"The government will once again explain its thoughts on the relocation to the Okinawan side as part of concentrated discussions towards a solution," he told a news conference.

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