Japan PM Abe halts US base construction in Okinawa for now

Reclamation work being carried out by the Ministry of Defense's Okinawa Defense Bureau in Nago, Okinawa prefecture, on October 29, 2015Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday he has agreed to suspend construction of a controversial US military base on Okinawa, a rare conciliatory step aimed at easing tension with the southern island. The deal, brokered by a court on the island, means Okinawa and Tokyo will drop rival lawsuits against each other and resume talks in a bid to reach a compromise. It came amid deepening mistrust between central authorities and island, considered a strategic linchpin for the US and Japan as they face China’s increasing military might and the regional threat of North Korean missiles.

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