(L-R) Japan's Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hold a joint press conference at the Department of State June 21, 2011 in Washington।
The United States and Japan have acknowledged dropping a 2014 deadline for the relocation of an American military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
“Completion of the FRF (Futenma Replacement Facility) and the Marine relocation will not meet the previously targeted date of 2014,” the US and Japan said in a joint statement following a high level meeting in Washington on Tuesday.
The meeting involved US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, Reuters reported.
The future of the base has been a major source of friction between the United States and Japan.
Washington and Tokyo agreed in 2006 to shift the US Marines' Futenma airbase in Okinawa to a less crowded area on the island, which is host to about half of the 47,000 US troops in the East Asian country.
But Tokyo has failed to win local backing for its plan to relocate the American base on the island.
Many of Okinawa's residents are demanding the removal of the military base from the island altogether.
Japan hosts some 47,000 US troops under a post-World War Two treaty.