US Senate moves to freeze Japan base move

By Shaun Tandon
June 18, 2011

US senators said that they have taken a major step to halt a controversial military base plan on Japan’s Okinawa island and called on the Pentagon to make a fresh assessment.

Just days before top officials from the two nations meet for talks, the Senate Armed Services Committee agreed to bar any funds to move troops from Japan to Guam and ordered a new study on Okinawa’s flashpoint Futenma base.

The language was part of an annual defense funding act approved Thursday. It needs approval from the full Senate and House of Representatives, but senators involved said that their actions on Asian bases enjoyed broad support.

Senator Carl Levin, a member of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party who heads the committee, said that the base plan in Japan increasingly appeared unfeasible and that the United States needed to control costs. …

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