Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Editorial :: Contingency plan

Editorial :: Contingency plan

Thursday, 28 January 2010 04:21

AT THIS point, the United States and Guam are guessing about what Japan will eventually do. Will it honor or renege on the 2006 accord that calls for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam?

Voters in Okinawa’s Nago City, where the antimilitary atmosphere has been raging, have made their sentiments known even further by electing Susumu Inanime, who campaigned on the platform to oppose the relocation of the Futenma Air Base to Nago from a more crowded part of the southern Japanese island.

The Nago voters’ decision has obviously further amplified the pressure on Japan's left-leaning government to cancel the 2006 agreement with the United States.

The United States insists on keeping the Futenma Base somewhere in Okinawa, but some Japanese politicians want the U.S. military facility out of Japan altogether.

Senator Judith Gutherz, chairman of the military buildup committee, said the possible delay in the implementation of the Marines’ relocation plan deal gives Guam the perfect chance to demand for inclusion in the planning process.

The possible postponement of the Marines’ relocation can offer relief for members of the community, who just came to realize the incredible impact of every aspect of the proposed military expansion on Guam. We can make better preparations for the troop movement in case it actually happens.

However, we recognize that this idea is premised only on the possibility of a delay in the execution of the 2006 deal.

There are two other scenarios that we must contemplate. One, the possibility of the entire Futenma force moving to Guam; and two, the likelihood that the relocation plan will not happen at all.

Right now, we are waiting to see what will happen. The United States depends on Japan’s unpredictable mood. Meanwhile, we are fence-sitting without a contingency program.

As for the first scenario, we can only hope that the United States is sensible enough to realize that Guam would not be able to absorb more troops than what was originally agreed upon. This would create a grave disaster considering the island’s limited resources.

The second scenario is something we can manage on our own if we start reflecting and developing a backup plan.

We can start with the government of Guam. Government financial planners need to come up with flexible revenue projections. Currently, projections are based on the influx of U.S. Marines and the proliferation of industries that would cater to the needs of this contingent population segment.

The entire community should take a cue from this unsteady situation and realize that we cannot always rely on outside industries—in this case, the military—to fuel our economy.

As stated in a previous editorial, it’s about time we step up efforts and meet the goal to diversify the island’s economy and enable it to survive with or without military bases.

No comments: