IWAKUNI, Yamaguchi -- The mayor of this city announced on June 23 that he will accept the relocation of U.S. carrier-based aircraft units from Kanagawa Prefecture to his city, saying that the Japan-U.S. alliance has become "more important than ever."
Iwakuni Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda told a June 23 municipal assembly session that he would accept the carrier-borne jet relocation from Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture to the Iwakuni base, saying, "The solidarity of the Japan-U.S. alliance has become more important than ever considering the current state of affairs, such as ballistic missile launches by North Korea."
The base is a joint U.S. Marine Corps-Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force facility.
As Yamaguchi Gov. Tsugumasa Muraoka is expected to approve the plan possibly by the end of June, in line with the intention of the host city, U.S. air units will likely start moving to the Iwakuni base as early as July.
Regarding the relocation plan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, the city of Iwakuni as well as the prefectural towns of Waki and Suo-Oshima had demanded state financial assistance to help local revitalization in return for accepting U.S. air units to the Iwakuni base.
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