U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visits Okinawa amid base dispute
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 00:52
Feb. 12 - U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visits Japan's Okinawa Prefecture amid tension with local residents over the relocation of a U.S. military base. Rough Cut (No Reporter Narration)
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, made her first tour of Japan's southern, Okinawa island on Wednesday (February 12), as local residents rallied against plans to relocate a U.S. military base.
A controversial plan backed by the U.S. government would see a Marine Corps base in Futenma moved some 50 km (30 miles) north to Henoko, which activists say will destroy an area home to the endangered marine mammal, dugong.
After arriving late on Tuesday (February 11), Kennedy held a meeting on Wednesday morning with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, a vocal supporter of the base proposal.
"Hopefully we can work together to keep the momentum moving forward for progress," Kennedy said.
Kennedy's celebrity appeal has drawn big crowds in Japan since her arrival in December 2013.
But on Wednesday, Okinawa residents took to the streets to voice their opposition to the relocation plan.
Delays in relocating the U.S. Marines' Futenma air base, a move first agreed between Tokyo and Washington in 1996, have long been an irritant in U.S.-Japan ties.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to make progress on the project as he seeks tighter ties with the United States in the face of an assertive China.
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