Senate asks U.S. to consider Angaur as Futenma relocation site
Wednesday, April 28 2010 15:19
By Bernadette H. Carreon
KOROR (Palau Horizon) – The Senate has adopted a resolution asking President Johnson Toribiong to offer the State of Angaur as an alternative location for the United States’ Airbase following plans to relocate the Futenma Airbase from Okinawa, Japan.
Resolution 8-53 stated that Angaur State can be utilized for the “United States military, strategic planning for the relocation of the Futenma Airbase from Okinawa, Japan.”
Resolution 8-53 requests President Johnson Toribiong to discuss with the government of the United States, through diplomatic channels the plan.
The resolution said that under the Compact of Free Association, U.S. has the right options to use lands in Palau for military defense.
The resolution cited that on the April 13-15, 2010 issue of the Palau Horizon, two members of the Japanese Diet; namely, the Honorable Takamine Zenshin and Tinian-born Representative Teruya Kantoku, expressed strong desire for the Island of Tinian in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as a likely site to relocate Futenma Airbase from Okinawa, Japan.
The senators said historically Angaur has been used as a military support by the U.S. during World War II.
The resolution stated that a nearly 10,000 feet runway was constructed on Angaur Island from September 17-30, 1944 following a six-day, non-stop bombardment by USS Tennessee and landing on Angaur of the US 81st Infantry Division under the Command of Major General Paul J. Muller and from this newly constructed airfield US military aircrafts flew over to and bombed the Island of Peleliu and that said Angaur airfield provided much needed support for the invasion and the eventual US victory of the Battle of Peleliu.
It added, several years later said Angaur Airfield was put to civilian use as interim airport for commercial airplanes to land throughout the time Airai International Airport was under construction for resurfacing and extension of the runways.
Under Title III, Article II – Defense Sites and Operating Rights – in Section 321 of the Compact of Free Association “allows the United States to establish and use defense sites in Palau, and may designate land and water areas and improvements in accordance with terms and conditions set forth in a separate subsidiary agreement known as the Military Use and Operating Rights Agreement.”
Japan wanted the airbase out of Okinawa.