Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Japanese Peace Groups in Guam

Retired Army officer, Japan peace delegation tour Guam
By Michele Catahay
Published Jul 20, 2009

A peace delegation from Osaka, Japan is on island to study and tour Guam and to hear from the locals on their thoughts about the Marines' relocation from Okinawa to Guam. Joining them is a retired U.S. Army colonel who says the move won't be good for Guam.

During the eve of Liberation Day, a peace delegation from Osaka took a tour around the island today to visit the many sites where Chamorros suffered the atrocities of war. The group toured various locations and memorials, to include here at the Tinta caves, where they paid respect to those Chamorros who died during the Japanese occupation of Guam. Joining them is retired Colonel Anne Wright, who says their mission is to study the impact Guam will have on the move.

In fact, Wright says there will be a negative impact, noting, "I'm very concerned about the militarization of Guam. Of course, it is a dilemma. Where does the U.S. put its military forces, but to put it in such small islands that are going to be negatively impacted by such a large increase in population. Plus, the weapons that are going to be used, the toxic materials that are used as a part of war, fighting and practicing the exercise training areas that will be used here on Guam."

Wright was once a diplomat in Micronesia and visited Guam in the past. She says Guam's pristine lands will be greatly impacted by the increase of Marines and their dependents. "I would urge our military to take our military to other places and put it in an area that has the capability of absorbing so many people and so many war-fighting materials," she said.

Wright will be speaking at several conferences as she joins the peace delegation back to Japan.

Meanwhile, trip organizer Ako Miamoto from Osaka says her group currently promotes peace in a nuclear-free world. She says the trip will give them insight on what happened during World War II and what could happen once the Marines move to Guam. "Today we're traveling all around Guam to study what our Japanese military did during the Second World War and now the relocation issues," she said. "They are already so many concerns about it. So that's why we invited 18 people." She also said, "It's our common issue. We're all against the relocation of U.S. Marines."

The group also met with native rights groups. They will leave the island tomorrow.

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