Tokyo: The Japanese government on Tuesday said it will suspend preparation work for construction of a new US military base on Okinawa island to defuse tensions with local authorities.

The state plans to hold “intensive consultations” with the Okinawa prefectural government till September 9 in an attempt to resolve the standoff over the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Kyodo news agency quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga as saying.

The relocation work in Okinawa was scheduled to begin from Monday.

The announcement came ahead of a planned meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga on Friday in Tokyo.

Onaga has pledged to take every measure possible to prevent the relocation plan from going forward.

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