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Time to Shift More Responsibility to the SDF?

Author: Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies
June 2, 2010
Asahi Shimbun

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Yukio Hatoyama resigned as prime minister on Wednesday, citing his inability to fulfill his party's campaign promise on the Futenma airfield relocation as a key reason.

Despite the intense effort by the Hatoyama Cabinet and the Obama administration to find common ground on a way forward on Futenma, Hatoyama's ruling Democratic Party of Japan found itself torn asunder by domestic political opposition to its efforts to work with Washington on the difficult issue of consolidating U.S. bases in Okinawa Prefecture.

Granted, Hatoyama set forth goals that seemed impossible to realize, and the criticism of him was relentless. Politics trumped a thorough discussion of policy goals, and the pressures on the DPJ government's first prime minister were too intense to allow a full policy review.

This is not the first time that Japan and the United States have sought a solution to moving the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, nor is the policy conversation over.

This article appears in full on CFR.org by permission of its original publisher. It was originally available here.

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