No more troops
Friday, 12 February 2010 03:52
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff
Japanese officials given copy of ‘sentiment’ resolution
LAWMAKERS yesterday unanimously passed a resolution that reiterates the island residents’ sentiments on the military’s draft environmental impact statement, which they consider “grossly flawed.”
Visiting members of Japan’s House of Representatives assured senators that there will be no additional troops that will be deployed to Guam beyond the number originally agreed upon between The United States and Japan.
Senator Rory Respicio, author of Resolution 275, described the legislature’s action as a tremendous victory for the people of Guam. He said the resolution reflects months of input based on the review of the draft impact report.
“The legislature’s approach to this military buildup is that we have to represent the people’s feelings on this matter,” said the lawmaker.
Respicio said Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo has made a commitment to represent the legislature’s position, which reflects the sentiments of the people.
Respicio hopes for Gov. Felix Camacho’s support for the resolution and to give his commitment as well.
Two members of Japan’s Diet, Mikio Shimoji of the People’s New Party and Tomoko Abe of the Social Democrat Party, made a brief stop at the legislature during yesterday’s session. The resolution was presented to the two Japanese lawmakers.
“What we saw today, we don’t think that there’s enough capacity for more forces because of the infrastructure situation in Guam,” Shimoji said through an interpreter. “And considering the sentiments and motivations of the people of Guam, at this point, there cannot be additional forces from Japan.”
Shimoji also said that the United States and Japan must both share equal responsibility for the buildup. He said when he returns to Japan, he and other members of the delegation will share with their colleagues the sentiments of Guam residents about the buildup.
Committeewoman on the Guam Military Buildup, Sen. Judi Guthertz said that
“The people of Guam should be proud of the legislature for standing up for them and for trying to make certain that this buildup will not be one sided but that it will benefit everyone who calls Guam home now and in the future,” said Sen. Judi Guthertz, chairman of the military buildup committee.
Guthertz said that was the goal of lawmakers when they drafted the resolution. “I encourage the people of Guam to read the resolution so that they can see what the legislature said and what we’re trying to accomplish,” said the lawmaker.
Speaker Judi Won Pat said the resolution is a very significant piece of document that would change Japan’s impression of Guam’s position on the military buildup.
Japanese Diet members told Won Pat that they were always under the impression, three to four years ago, that 80 to 90 percent of Guam residents were in favor of the buildup. “That was the story they were given,” Won Pat said.
They were very curious to find what the true sentiments were and this is why they made the effort to visit the Guam Legislature when they learned that Resolution 275 was being heard regarding the buildup.
“We told them that it will contain the sentiments of the people, and that to them was far more important—that they know what the military side of the story is, and they wanted to know the people of Guam’s story, too,” said the speaker.
Won Pat said members of the Japanese Diet were very humble when they acknowledged that Japan has an equal responsibility as the United States in terms of the Marines’ relocation as stated in the U.S. and Japan agreement.
“To us, this speaks volumes because this is the first time any government has ever said that—admitting that share in the responsibility,” said Won Pat.
The delegation left Guam yesterday afternoon.