Japan delegates to look for relocation sites
By Dionesis Tamondong • Pacific Daily News • February 10, 2010
A delegation of Japanese officials was scheduled to have arrived in Guam last night to look at the progress of the military buildup preparations.
Seisuke Shimizu, deputy consul general of the Japanese Consulate on Guam, said he couldn't release the names of those participating in the fact-finding mission. More than 20 officials are part of the trip, he said.
The trip was ordered by Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, and among the delegation's objectives is to compile a list of possible relocation sites for the Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, according to a report last week by Stars and Stripes.
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. Some officials have even called for moving all U.S. troops off Okinawa completely, with Guam being one of the alternative sites.
The agreement also involves Japan helping to pay $6 billion of the estimated $10.27 billion cost to relocate Marines to Guam.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the United States will continue to work with Japan on moving forward with the realignment of U.S. military forces.
The delegation is tentatively scheduled to make a courtesy visit to the governor's office today, said Charlene Calip, spokeswoman for Gov. Felix Camacho.