Senior US diplomat confident American base on Japanese island of Okinawa will stay

GENEVA (AP) — U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg says Washington would prefer to keep its military base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa despite local opposition.

Steinberg says he is confident the day-to-day political debate on moving the base won't trump an overriding commitment in Japan to host the U.S. military.

He told an international security conference in Geneva on Saturday that serious security issues remain in East Asia and the U.S. would "rather stay where we are."

Under a 2006 agreement, Washington will move 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam and relocate an air base from the middle of a city to a less crowded part of the island by 2014.