Guam – Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister Jun Azumi says it’s likely that the Japanese Government will include funding in its 2011 budget for at least a portion of the $740 million dollars it has committed to provide for the Guam Military Buildup.
Azumi was on Guam this past weekend meeting with both federal and local officials, although a Saturday meeting with Guam lawmakers was cancelled.
If loan funds are included in the 2011 Japanese budget, it would be the first concrete commitment of funds to pay for infrastructure projects on Guam “outside the fence.”
The funding commitment was made in the 2006 Japan-U.S. agreement governing the re-location of the U.S. base in Futenma to another location in Okinawa, and that agreement also includes the transfer of more than 8,000 Marines to Guam.
The money is ment to pay for upgrades to Guam’s water and sewer infrastructure.
The Yomiuri online quotes Azumi as saying that “If we leave the situation unchanged, Guam’s sewage treatment facility will not be able to accommodate the rise in population [following the transfer of U.S. marines.]”
Azumi also told the Yomiuri that Japan-U.S. negotiations over how the loan would be handled and paid back have entered the final stage, telling the paper, “We’ve reached a crucial stage [in negotiations] on how to ensure long-term repayment of the loan.”