Friday, July 13, 2007

Guam Welcomes Okinawa Delegation

Guam officials welcome Okinawa delegation
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
July 12, 2007

ADMINISTRATION officials yesterday welcomed Okinawa mayors who are on a fact-finding mission to assess the situation on Guam and determine how the U.S. military relocation plan is coming along.

Gov. Felix P. Camacho, Lt. Gov. Mike Cruz and Guam National Guard chief Brig. General Donald Goldhorn met with the fact-finding team headed by Okinawa City Mayor Mitsuko Tohmon and assisted by Japan's Consul General on Guam, Tamio Tomino.

"Okinawan citizens know very well how annoying it is to live with U.S. bases. We would like to see how the U.S. forces realignment plan is carried out in Guam, where some U.S. forces in Okinawa will be relocated, and to find some lessons for us in the future," the Japanese newspaper Ryukyu Shimpo quoted Tohmon as saying.

The governor's office did not give a media statement about the meeting. The Variety photographer was told that the meeting was off-limits to the media.

Joe Tenorio, spokesman for the Japanese Consulate Office, said the fact-finding team is composed of 18 members of the Local Government Mayors Association of Central Okinawa.

Tenorio said the Okinawa delegation also met with Navy officials yesterday afternoon. The Okinawa mayors are scheduled to meet with members of the Legislature at 1 p.m. today.

According to Ryukyu Shimpo, the fact-finding team will be on Guam until tomorrow.
The Okinawa officials' arrival coincided with the Nasion Chamoru's anti-military bases demonstration held every Wednesday at the Chief Kepuha Park in Hagatna.

Debbie Quinata, maga'haga of Nasion Chamoru, said the protest rally was also meant to share the Chamorro people's sentiments with Okinawans.

"We are in solidarity with Okinawans' desire to have the military leave Okinawa. But we don't want the military to come here. We want them to go to the U.S.," Quinata said.

"I hope that Okinawa officials enjoy their trip on Guam as much as I did when I visited their beautiful island. I want to match their hospitality," she added.

Around 8,000 Marines now stationed on Okinawa will be deployed to Guam by 2012.

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