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Okinawa Civic Chiefs Stage Anti-US Base Rally In Tokyo

Civic chiefs of Japan's Okinawa prefecture held a rally in Tokyo on Sunday calling for withdrawal of the controversial U.S. Osprey military transport aircraft and shifting of the Futenma Marines Air Station from the prefecture, Japanese media reported.

Rally organizers claimed that more than 140 officials from the country's southernmost prefecture took part in the rally which was joined by over 4,000 protesters, including people from Okinawa who live in the city.

Naha City Mayor Takeshi Onaga said the government had been imposing the burden of U.S. military bases on Okinawa since it was returned from the United States, and the people were incensed over the issue.

The protesters marched for about 1.5 kilometers, carrying banners that read "No Osprey." According to the NHK broadcaster, the all-party delegation was the largest of its kind since Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972.

The municipal heads will deliver a document to the new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday calling for the resolution of issues related to U.S. military bases in Japan.

A staunch U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific, Japan is host to several U.S. military bases with more than 50,000 soldiers.

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