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02 September 2009 

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Report: Obama, Incoming Japanese PM Speak by Phone

02 September 2009

Yukio Hatoyama stands after a press conference in front of a white board full of red rosettes attached on victorious candidates' names, in Tokyo, early Monday, 31 Aug 2009
Yukio Hatoyama after a press conference in front of white board full of red rosettes attached on victorious candidates' names, in Tokyo, 31 Aug 2009
Japan's incoming Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama says he would like to build U.S.-Japanese relations with a focus on the future.

Japan's Kyodo news agency says Mr. Hatoyama made his comment in a phone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama early Thursday (Japanese time).

Mr. Hatoyama had previously said that under his left-leaning opposition party, Japan's foreign policy will seek more autonomy from the United States and closer economic ties with China.
 
The United States has said there will be little change in relations with Japan under Mr. Hatoyama.

On Monday, a State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the alliance with Japan is key to important regional and global issues, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and working for a nuclear-free Korea.

Mr. Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan claimed a landslide victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

The State Department spokesman also said the United States will not revisit the painstakingly negotiated deal with Japan to move 8,000 U.S. Marines from a base on Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam.

Japan has agreed to contribute $3 billion to closing the Okinawa base.

Mr. Hatoyama has called for a review of the deal.

The Democratic Party of Japan won an overwhelming 308 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament, ending more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the conservative Liberal Democrats.

 


Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters. 


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