Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Kitazawa Thinks Guam Is "Suitable" For Troop Relocation

Wednesday, 09 December 2009

Guam - Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitizawa paid a curtesy call on Governor Felix Camacho Tuesday.

Japan's Defense Secretary Toshimi Kitazawa was accompanied by escorted by Navy Assistant Secretary Roger Natushara and Joint Guam Program Office Executive Director David Bice.

They spent about a half hour in a closed door meeting with Governor Felix Camacho. When they came out, Kitazawa said the purpose of his visit was "to see this site with my own eyes to deepen my understanding of the situation."

The Japanese Government is laying out billions of dollars for the relocation of Marines from Futenma Air Base in Okinawa to Guam.

Kitazawa arrived on Guam Tuesday night and spent the day inspecting Naval Station and Andersen AFB. And he took a helicopter tour of the island Wednesday afternoon.

Although widely covered by the Japanese media, the Japanese consulate here kept a tight reign on information about his trip.

They did not release his schedule and he did not pay a call on any member of the Guam legislature.

Japanese media last Friday reported that Japan's Prime Minister Yuikio Hatoyama had instructed his Defense Minister to "make extra, active efforts to find alternative locations" for the U.S. Marine Futenma Air Base on Okinawa.

The Prime Minister mentioned the possibility of moving the entire Futenma Base here to Guam.

Kitazawa said from what he's seen, Guam is a suitable place for a relocation, but he didn't pause long enough to say whether it was suitable for the currently planned relocation or perhaps a larger relocation of forces, as his Prime Minister has suggested.

However, Governor Felix Camacho said that Kitazawa assured him that no decision has been made on suggestions that all of Futenma be moved to Guam.

The Governor said he emphasized to Kitazawa that Guam has limited resources and space. He asked that Guam be kept fully informed about the Futenma relocation plans.

The Governor also said the new Japanes Governmnet is facing serious domestic considerations and its imporant that the new government demonstrate a sincere effort to address those domestic concerns.

The Governor also said he considered it unlikely that there will be any serious effort to move all of Futenma to Guam because the U.S. Government has taken a very firm stance with the Japanese Government insisting that the current base re-alignment agreement be followed.

Written by : Kevin Kerrigan

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