Guam residents are not welcoming U.S. Marines relocation from Okinawa

(Akahata is published by the Communist Party of Japan) Residents of Guam are so reluctant to accept the U.S. Marines to be stationed on the island of U.S. territory in the Pacific, that the Guam governor would sign the ordinance passed by the Guam Legislature to hold a referendum over the planned reinforcement of U.S. forces in Guam, said the speaker of the Guam Territorial Legislature.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Inoue Satoshi heard this while he was visiting Guam on March 8-9 while leading a JCP investigation team in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary discussion on the so-called Guam Agreement recently signed by Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The agreement, if it comes into force after being approved by both countries, will force Japan to pay the costs for constructing U.S. military facilities on Guam.

Speaker of Guam's Territorial Legislature Judith Won Pat and representatives of residents' organizations in meetings with the JCP team proved that the Japanese government's argument that Guam is welcoming the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) to be relocated to Guam is false.

In May 2006, the Japanese and U.S. governments reached the final agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, which included the relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines and 9,000 families from Okinawa to Guam as well as Japan's payment of about 6.1 billion dollars as part of the cost for the USMC relocation project totaling about 10.3 billion dollars.

On February 17, the two governments agreed to remake the roadmap, including the payment of the 6.1 billion dollars, into an official treaty entitled: AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CONCERNING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RELOCATION OF III MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS FROM OKINAWA TO GUAM..

After visiting the site for the construction of the new USMC facilities, the JCP investigation team met with landowners and residents.

On March 9, after a briefing from Japan's consul general in Guam, they met and held about two hours of talks with Speaker of Guam's Territorial Legislature Won Pat.

The Speaker stated that the U.S. Department of Defense has provided Guam with little information concerning the relocation plan and that no public opinion survey has been held on this issue. She expressed anxieties over further contamination from sewage water from the new military facilities as well as possible sexual assaults by the increased presence of Marines.

She referred to Guam's Governor Felix P. Camacho, who is expected to sign the bill to hold a referendum on the relocation issue.

Specifically on the Japan-U.S. agreement on the USMC Guam relocation, which is expected to be discussed in Japan's Diet, she stressed that the Diet is called upon to listen to Guam and that she is ready to provide information concerned to any Japanese political parties.

On the USFJ realignment issue, she indicated the possibility that additional units will come to a new U.S. base to be constructed in the Henoko district of Nago City, even after a part of the U.S. Marines are moved to Guam.

The JCP team toured the island guided by a representative of the Chamorro Nations, an organization of aboriginals in Guam.

Upon watching CNN news reports on mass layoffs sweeping Japan, they said that they don't understand why Japan has agreed to pay so much money for a foreign government instead of stimulating the Japanese economy.

Guam's landowners association chief Antonio told Inoue that he has not been paid a penny by the military every since his land was taken for use by the U.S. Andersen Air Base. He expressed worries over an additional expropriation of land as a result of the USMC Guam relocation.

JCP Inoue stated, 'It is extraordinary for Japan to use tax money for the construction of a military base on foreign territory. I want to convey Guam people's voices to the Japanese Diet so that the new Guam Agreement will be rejected.'