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Japan announces new U.S. plan for Okinawa withdrawal

Japan may soon get back control of land the U.S. military currently occupies at its base in Okinawa.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said portions of the 2,500 acres that is now used as a military base for the United States could be returned as early as this year, United Press International reported. That's a new timeline; the current agreement calls for all the property to go back to Japanese control between 2022 and 2025,UPI said.

The speed by which the land is returned depends largely on how fast the U.S. could relocate its equipment and personnel, UPI said. The U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station should be fully evacuated by 2022, UPI said, while other portions of property – like Camp Kuwae in the town of Chatan — could take longer.

Futenma station was supposed to have been returned in 1996, under the terms of a previous agreement, UPI said.

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