Saturday, May 03, 2008

Marines' Move to Guam May Be Delayed

Marines' move to Guam may be delayed
The Japan Times
Saturday, May 3, 2008

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) A plan to relocate U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa Prefecture by 2014 is facing delays due to the new host site's lack of infrastructure and fiscal constraints on the part of both governments, a U.S. government agency said Thursday.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report submitted to the Senate that some Defense Department and Guam officials "believe that this is an optimistic schedule."

The relocation plan inked by Washington and Tokyo is part of a bilateral agreement in May 2006 to realign the U.S. military presence in Japan by 2014.

Any delay in relocating the marines to Guam could affect another key element of the agreement — relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station's heliport facility from downtown Ginowan to Nago, both in Okinawa.

While noting uncertainties over the final size of the military population and the kind of military facilities to be built, the GAO report touches on the possibility that an environmental impact assessment could be delayed.

It refers to "the complexities of moving thousands of marines and their dependents to Guam, and the need to obtain sufficient funding from the governments of the United States and Japan to support the move."

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