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Protest held in Tokyo against US military presence

Antiwar -Thousands of protesters from across Japan marched Saturday in central Tokyo to protest the U.S. military presence on Okinawa, while a Cabinet minister said she would fight to move a Marine base Washington considers crucial out of the country.

Some 47,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, with more than half on the southern island of Okinawa. Residents have complained for years about noise, pollution and crime around the bases.

Japan and the U.S. signed a pact in 2006 that called for the realignment of American troops in the country and for a Marine base on the island to be moved to a less populated area. But the new Tokyo government is re-examining the deal, caught between increasingly adamant public opposition to American troops and its crucial military alliance with Washington.

On Saturday, labor unionists, pacifists, environmentalists and students marched through central Tokyo, yelling slogans and calling for an end to the U.S. troop presence. They gathered for a rally at a park — under a banner that read "Change! Japan-U.S. Relations" — for speeches by civil leaders and politicians. Read more.

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