Senators to meet with Webb
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 03:29
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff
SENATOR Jim Webb from Virginia, who is on a weeklong tour of Japan and Guam, will meet with Guam lawmakers on Thursday.
In Japan, Webb said he was open to hearing options on how to resolve the dispute over the relocation of the Futenma Marine air base in Okinawa.
The situation has become a contentious issue with the U.S. government and the new Japanese government, which has put a hold on plans to move Futenma air base on Nago, the southern island of Okinawa.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said he will make a decision on Futenma by May.
Speaker Judi Won Pat said lawmakers will share with Webb their concerns regarding the draft environmental impact statement, as well as the U.S. not providing any funding to assist Guam in preparing for the military buildup which includes strengthening its infrastructure, the building of new schools to mitigate the already overcrowded facilities, the U.S. proposed firing range, the dredging of Apra Harbor, eminent domain, and the true overall sentiments of the people regarding the buildup.
Won Pat said with the recent fact-finding mission by a Japanese delegation to Guam, Japanese officials now have a clear picture of the reality of the buildup and the financial burden the government of Guam must carry. Won Pat said she was assured by Diet members that the information gathered will be carried back to Japan and told.
Won Pat said she hopes Webb will be open to lawmakers’ concerns and that he too will bring back these issues to his colleagues in Washington.
Webb has traveled to Okinawa in the last 40 years, first as a Marine during the Vietnam War and later as a U.S. defense planner and government official. He is a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.