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Tokyo: Japan said on Monday it had agreed to buy an uninhabited island off its southwest coast for USD 146 million, eyeing it for US military drills.
Tokyo and Washington agreed in 2011 to relocate a training site for US fighter jets to Mageshima island, around 30 kilometres off the southwestern Japanese coast. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said an agreement to purchase Mageshima was reached on Friday “after discussions between the defence ministry and the developer who owns the majority of the island”. American flight training operations are currently conducted at Iwo Jima, south of Tokyo.
Washington had requested a move, saying Iwo Jima — a key World War II battlefield — was too far away from an American military base in Iwakuni, where their fighters are stationed. Suga said a facility would be built on the island for landing practice “at an early date”. (AFP)