Korean tension a factor in Japan base decision

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

TOKYO (AP) - Tensions over North Korea's sinking of a South Korean warship are serious enough to have prompted Japan's Prime Minister to break a campaign promise.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama had pledged to close the U.S. Marine base in Okinawa. But he now says he's decided to keep Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the strategically important island, which is close to Taiwan and the Chinese mainland and not far from the Korean Peninsula.

Hatoyama told reporters that given the situation, it's of “utmost importance” to place U.S.-Japan ties on a “secure relationship of trust.”

Traveling in Beijing, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton commended what she called a difficult, but correct decision.

The island hosts more than half the 47,000 American troops in Japan under a mutual security pact.

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