PNC :: Japan Diet Delegation Tours Guam During Fact Finding Mission
Thursday, 11 February 2010
Guam - A 23 member delegation of the Japan Diet or legislature toured the island of Guam today seeing the military bases and meeting with local officials.
The group is part of a fact finding team sent to Guam to help determine if the island would be suitable for the relocation of the Futenma U.S. Marine Air Base. This base does not include the 8,000 marines already slated to move to Guam.
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama sent the delegation to the CNMI and Guam to find alternative sites for the relocation of the Futenma US Marine Air Base. Futenma has been a sticking point for the defense realignment agreement between the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. has promised to move 8,000 marines and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam as long as they can move Futenma to the north of Okinawa. Okinawans have protested this and instead want Futenma off of their island completely. Japanese officials have said that Guam could be a potential place for this relocation.
Today the 23 member Japanese delegation toured the bases and met with the Governor during a closed door meeting. While media was not allowed inside the governor did talk afterwards saying that he re-iterated that Guam could not host additional marines and that the 8,000 that are alsready slated to come here were more than enough. Camacho says they realize that there has to be consideration of Guam's ability to host additional marines. According to the governor Japan is not necessarily focussed on moving Futenma to Guam He says "They're simply trying to say move them out of Okinawa"
On the other hand CNMI governor Benigno Fitial told the Japanese diet members that Futenma could be moved to the CNMI. Fitial said he would welcome the marines because he know that Guam can not accomodate them.
While the Governor held a closed door meeting the legislature held a very open meeting with two diet members namely Mikio Shimoji and Tomoko Abe. Both are members of the ruling social democratic party of Japan or the same party that the prime minister is a part of. After having dinner with Speaker Judi Wonpat on Wednesday Shimoji and Abe met with the legislature to receive resolution 275 that Guam lawmakers spent all day revising before passing. The resolution in essence shares many of the major concerns of Guam's local population as received through the various public hearings the legislature has held on the buildup. Abe said that both she and Shimoji would bring the resolution to Prime Minister Hatoyama.
As for Shimoji he told lawmakers that the agreement was between the United States and Japan and that because of this Japan has a responsibility to make sure that it is carried out with the interest of Guam in mind. Both Shimoji and Abe pledged to be a voice for Guam in the Japan Diet. As for the plans to move Futenma to Guam, Shimoji says he doesn't think it will happen.
Written by : Clynt Ridgell