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Defense Minister negative on US Marines training outside Okinawa

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya on Oct. 5 took a negative view of Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki's idea that U.S. Marines based in the southernmost prefecture should train outside Japan.

Iwaya told reporters that various Marine units "have to be deployed in proximity and train together to maintain their mobility and rapid reaction capabilities," suggesting he is against sending the troops overseas for training.

Iwaya is positive about meeting with Tamaki or visiting Okinawa. But the defense minister is maintaining the central government's position of promoting the transfer of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the southern Okinawa city of Ginowan to the Henoko district of the city of Nago, also in the prefecture.

Tamaki said in a group interview with media outlets on Oct. 1, "If the U.S. Marines train overseas, there will be no need for Air Station Futenma or its relocation."

(Japanese original by Shinichi Akiyama, Political News Department)

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