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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yoshida Kensei : Re-examining Kyodo News Reports 吉田健正:米発共同記事を検証する


Journalist Yoshida Kensei, in the June 8 edition of Ryukyu Shimpo, rebuts recent Kyodo News Agency reports (see June 1 Japan Times article and June 3 article on below) on the U.S. plan to move Marines to Guam.

In the article "Marines' move to Guam from Okinawa may be delayed up to 5 years" (June 1, Japan Times and May 31, Ryukyu Shimpo), the reason for the delay is for the U.S. Government to consider investing "several billion dollars" for the added infrastructure needs. That "infrastructure," according to the Kyodo article, is about "the lack of infrastructure on the island concerning potable water and sewage there. "

"Several billion dollars" can be about a half of the total estimated cost of $10.27 billion, of which Japan is supposed to shoulder $6.09 billion and U.S. $4.18 billion.

February this year, EPA, which evaluated the environmental impact assessment for the build-up as insufficient, announced that $13 million would be allocated for added infrastructure of potable water and sewage, about 10 times of the previous year's $1.33 mil. This is already a massive increase of the budget. Why would there be a need for the U.S. Government to further add "several billion dollars"? Yoshida is doubtful of a plan for such a huge increase in the budget, and whether the reported delay in the Marines' transfer to Guam has valid ground, coming from the anonymous "sources close to the bilateral ties," which Kyodo did not identify.

This Kyodo correspondant Sugita, who wrote the above-mentioned article, wrote in another article (June 3, Kyodo news in, and June 2, Ryukyu Shimpo, see below), "The Senate Armed Services Committee reduced the outlays by some $320 million or 70% from the government-proposed level under an amendment to the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2011 that the House passed late last month," and "The reason cited by the panel in the document for the cut was that the Okinawa Prefecture governor has not approved a land reclamation plan for coastal waters to build the replacement for the Futenma Marines air station in Ginowan." Sugita concludes that it was made apparent that the U.S. Congress would not pass the budget for Marines' transfer to Guam unless Okinawa governor approves reclamation.

Yoshida finds dubious that the reason for the budget cut was the lack of Okinawa governor's reclamation approval, because the decision came only a few days after the joint Japan-U.S. statement (May28), which identified Henoko as a site for new base construction, but did not specify a construction method yet - whether it is going to be by reclamation or another method.

Yoshida argues that those Kyodo's articles are acting as spokesperson for the some interest groups in Washington, whose intention is to pressure Japan to hasten the process of a Futenma replacement base construction in Henoko. Yoshida suspects that these interest groups send such propaganda through media, to threat Japan into contributing more money to the Guam buildup plan by hinting that the Marines' transfer would be delayed if Japan didn't. Yoshida is critical of the Kyodo reporter who didn't do his job of verifying the information and just published it as he heard from those unidentified sources.

Journalist Yoshida Kensei lives and writes in Naha, Okinawa. See his article in Japan Focus: US Bases, Japan and the Reality of Okinawa as a Military Colony.




Senate panel cuts outlays for relocation of Marines from Okinawa
Thursday 03rd June, 01:53 AM JST

A U.S. Senate committee has cut outlays in a bill for the planned relocation of Marines from Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture to Guam, indicating its pressure on Japan over a Marine air base in the prefecture, a document obtained by Kyodo News showed.

The Senate Armed Services Committee reduced the outlays by some $320 million or 70% from the government-proposed level under an amendment to the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2011 that it passed late last month.

The reason cited by the panel in the document for the cut was that the Okinawa Prefecture governor has not approved a land reclamation plan for coastal waters to build the replacement for the Futenma Marines air station in Ginowan.

Japan and the United States released a joint statement Friday on a fresh agreement on the relocation of the Futenma base, saying the base will be moved to the Henoko area in the prefecture in line with an existing accord struck in 2006.

But Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima has yet to approve any specific land reclamation plan for the planned facility, stating it would be extremely difficult to implement the Japan-U.S. agreement on the Futenma base relocation due to strong opposition from local people.

The panel’s document notes that the action to obtain the governor’s permit ‘‘has been indefinitely delayed’’ and the panel effectively urged the U.S. Department of Defense to obtain such a permit as a certification that ‘‘tangible progress’’ has been made on the issue in order to bring back the cut on outlays for the planned relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

Japan Times

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Marine move to Guam facing five-year delay
WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Japan and the United States are considering postponing the transfer of about 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam by three to five years from the originally scheduled 2014, sources close to Japanese-U.S. ties said Monday.

The Pacific island's infrastructure isn't capable of handling such a huge influx of people, and the U.S. government is planning to compile a construction plan in July worth several billion dollars, according to the sources and a U.S. official.

Japan and the U.S. have agreed that the transfer of the marines and their family members to the U.S. territory is "dependent on tangible progress" on relocating the Futenma air station to another site in Okinawa Prefecture.

A significant delay in the transfer would affect the replacement facility's location, configuration and construction method, which the two countries said in their latest accord released Friday would be worked out by the end of August.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pointed out in February that Guam's infrastructure wouldn't be able to keep up with the rapid population increase caused by the marine transfer, an EPA official said.

The EPA and the Defense Department recently agreed in principle on concrete measures to address the lack of infrastructure concerning potable water and sewage.

The measures include curtailing the influx of people from outside the island, one of the sources said.

While the infrastructure plan is to be compiled on the premise that Guam's needs should be addressed by 2014, another source said it would be difficult for the U.S. Congress to earmark enough funds by then.

共同通信 6月2日

沖縄の米海兵隊移転費70%削減 普天間で地元同意要求 






米のグアム移転、最大5年遅れ 7月に整備計画 




1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:37 am

    Thank you for this crucial post.

    The Kyodo reporter is mistaken regarding its assumptions about U.S. congressional approval of financing the Guam build-up.

    He conveys that all members of congress are the same and beholden to whatever interests (i.e. Marines, various corporations that would financially benefit) that want to build a base at Henoko. But many members of congress have no idea that the U.S. military occupies Okinawa to the extent that it does, much less approve of this occupation. The same holds true for the Guam build-up.

    If Americans knew the costs of this build-up which most Guam residents oppose, then there would be more outcry in D.C. The U.S. cannot afford this build-up (on top of the exorbitant costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). And Japan cannot afford to subsidize unwanted U.S. military expansion and costs of unnecessary occupation in Okinawa for the purpose of training Marines to fight elsewhere.

    Futenma needs to be closed, and the Marines need to return to the U.S. where they are wanted for their training for wars in Central Asia--until the U.S. runs out of money or listens to the majority of Americans who want the wars (and U.S. global military expansion) to end.