Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to suspend the process of relocating a U.S. Marine base on the island of Okinawa.
Abe announced Friday he is accepting a court-mediated proposal to halt the work and instead pursue negotiations with the local government contesting his plans.
The dispute is between Japan's federal government and local authorities on Okinawa. Abe's government wants to relocate the Marines' Futenma air base to a less populated part of Okinawa where other U.S. military facilities are located. Local authorities want the air base moved off the island altogether.
Okinawa residents who live near the base complain that the presence of the U.S. Marines causes overcrowding and higher crime rates