Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Guam to replace Futenma?

Guam to replace Futenma?

Japan fact-finding team to review buildup progress

By Dionesis Tamondong • Pacific Daily News • February 11, 2010

A 23-member Japan delegation led by Yorihisa Matsuno, deputy chief Cabinet secretary in the Japan Diet, was scheduled to arrive late last night for its fact-finding mission here.

The Japan Consulate Office on Tuesday said the group of officials was to arrive later that night.

They are here to review the progress of military buildup preparations and see whether Guam may be a suitable option to relocate the Marine Corps Futenma Air Station and more U.S. troops. The delegation is scheduled to meet with officials from the governor's office and military installations around the island.

The relocation of the base to northern Okinawa is part of a 2006 agreement between Japan and the United States to realign American troops in Japan. The agreement also calls for reducing the presence of U.S. troops in Okinawa and moving about 8,000 Marines and their 9,000 dependents to Guam.

Some of Japan's new elected officials have said they want more time to review the U.S.-Japan agreement, with some having called for moving all U.S. troops off Okinawa completely, with Guam being one of the alternative sites.

The delegation's visit takes place as the Guam Legislature convenes today to discuss a resolution regarding concerns over the buildup.

Resolution 275, to be presented to President Obama and other ranking federal officials, calls for more time to review the military's proposed buildup plans and to have them redo certain sections of those plans.

Speaker Judith Won Pat said she hopes the Japanese delegation takes note of today's legislative discussions. She said she was disappointed that local lawmakers weren't notified of any courtesy visit by the delegation.

"We've been actively involved in public hearings regarding the buildup. We have a lot of information we can share with them," she said.

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