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U.S. Japan agree to delay Marine base relocation

WASHINGTON >> The U.S. and Japan have pushed back the deadline for completing the costly relocation of a U.S. Marine air station on the southern island of Okinawa.

A joint statement issued by the close allies after high-level security talks in Washington on Tuesday confirmed plans for relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, but said it would not meet its 2014 deadline.

The statement said the relocation would be completed at the “earliest possible date” after 2014.

The delay had been widely anticipated as Japan’s government has failed to win local assent for the plans although they are designed to reduce the U.S. military footprint on Okinawa.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S.-Japan alliance remained indispensable to security in the Asia-Pacific.

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