VIDEO: Agreement on Plan to Close Futenma a Good Sign For Guam Buildup

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Guam – The U.S. and Japan have reached an agreement on a new plan for closing and consolidating U.S. military bases in Okinawa including the Futenma marine base.

Senator Frank Aguon Jr. and Guam buildup office director Mark Calvo both view this as a good sign that the Guam military buildup will indeed happen.

The U.S. and Japan have agreed upon a plan for closing the Futenma marine base in Okinawa. “We understand last week Prime Minister Abe was in the United States and spoke directly to President Obama and made assurances to the United States that Japan is continuing with the movement on the Pacific realignment by promising the Futenma replacement facility to occur,” said Guam Buildup Director Mark Calvo. This ultimately will still take about ten years to occur, however Calvo says it does show a positive commitment towards the Guam buildup. The closing and relocation of Futenma was originally considered a lynchpin in the realignment and relocation of marines to Guam, however; Calvo says that was de-linked from the Guam military buildup back in 2012. So even if it takes ten years to close down Futenma and move it this will not affect the relocation of marines from Okinawa to Guam.

 However, Guam military relocation Chairman Senator Frank Aguon Jr. says that this agreement bodes well for the Guam military buildup. “That just re-affirms that the U.S. government and the Department of Defense is committed towards re-assigning those personnel and it’s great to hear that in fact Guam continues to be a part of the equation,” said Senator Aguon. The local lawmaker hopes that now the U.S. federal government will match this commitment by Japan with a commitment of their own. Calvo feels much the same way. “It almost puts the onus back on the United States to show their part in the commitment to this realignment,” said Calvo adding,”the government of Japan, Japanese officials are committed to moving forces out of Okinawa and the U.S. congress will hear that word again and it would behoove them, it seems, to start committing funding [for] military construction or outside infrastructure funding for Guam to make this realignment happen.”

 U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel was quoted as saying that the construction of replacement facilities would allow “a sizable contingent of U.S. marine corps forces to relocate outside of Japan namely to Guam and Hawaii.” For the military buildup to occur on Guam DOD will still have to complete it’s SEIS and sign a record of decision something that isn’t expected until 2015.