Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Clinton gets no commitment from Japan on air base row
HONOLULU: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed her Japanese counterpart here Tuesday to stick by a deal on moving a controversial US air base, but got no commitment from Tokyo during the meeting. At hastily-arranged talks with Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Honolulu, Clinton said she had stressed the need to resolve the fate of the Futenma base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.But she also expressed confidence the row would be resolved, saying Tokyo understands that the 50-year-old alliance with Washington is "fundamental to the future" of both Japan and the region. The meeting with Okada was added to the beginning of an Asia tour by Clinton amid growing concerns of a rift between Washington and the new center-left coalition government in Tokyo, which includes elements opposed to the presence of the US base on Okinawa. "I have stressed again today... that it is important to move on Futenma," Clinton said at a press conference with Okada in the garden of a luxury hotel on the Pacific Ocean. She reiterated the US view that a 2006 base deal known as the "realignment road map" is "the way forward".