By Sarah E. Treptow
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
OKINAWA, Japan – The US and Japan have signed the Guam International Agreement ordering the relocation of 8,000 US soldiers from the Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam by 2014. Under the agreement, Japan will provide $6.09 billion of the estimated $10.3 billion it will cost for the transfer of the soldiers and for the building of housing on Guam, a US territory.
The Guam Landowners Association says it is opposed to the plan for military buildup. The Association’s Antony Sablan says the people of Guam have not been asked if they support the move. The soldier transfer will boost Guam’s population by ten percent. Mr. Sablan believes Guam will lose land and part of its identity. He said, “We are a foster child of a foster parent, where our resources are getting raped by our foster parent. Somebody has to step up to the plate and take the step to say: ‘hey, you can’t take advantage of this small group of innocent people.'” Mr. Sablan went on to say the international community should step in to protect the people of Guam.
Meanwhile, Guam’s Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to the population increase for what it will mean for Guam’s economy. The Chamber’s chair, Frank Campillo says it will bring many opportunities. Mr. Campillo explained, “We’ll see a huge amount of construction activity: we need to improve our island infrastructure, the streets, the waterways, the distribution of electricity, we need to build new housing. We understand there’ll be between 8 and 10 billion dollars of construction activity.”
For more information, please see:
Press TV – US to remove soldiers from Okinawa – 17 February 2009
Radio New Zealand International – Guam Landowners oppose US troop build up – 18 February 2009
Radio New Zealand International – Guam businesses eyeing benefits from the US marines relocating – 18 February 2009