Monday, October 29, 2007

Guam and Okinawa

Japanese activists: Guam will inherent Okinawa problems
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff

Japanese activists warned the people of Guam that they will inherit the problems related to military bases currently being suffered by Okinawans once the 8,000 Marines are relocated to Guam.

"The safety of Guam will be at risk. The relocation of the Marines will result in increased crimes on Guam," Hiroshi Goto, head of the Japanese Peace Organization, said through an interpreter.

Goto led a group of nine Japanese activist leaders, representing various organizations based in Kobe, Nagoya and Okinawa, who visited Guam over the weekend to meet with leaders and members of Nasion Chamoru and other local activist groups.
"We are one with Chamorro activists in fighting for the abolition of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty," Goto said.

Former senator, Yasu Take, said that besides an increase in social problems, Guam will also have to deal with environmental issues such as noise, water and pollution and other environmental contamination from military toxic waste.

"We wonder what good the military relocation will bring to Guam," Take said.
The local government and the business community are excited about the impending military buildup, which they expect to spur economic activity on Guam.

But Nobue Kugimiya, president of the Japanese Women's Organization, said the military expansion will not really benefit the general population nor does it promise a windfall for the entire business community.

"The reality is that only big companies will be allowed to take advantage of the contracts for military constructions. This is our experience in Okinawa. The small and medium size companies are pushed to the side with no benefits at all," Kigimiya said.

The Japanese government has pledged $6 billion to defray the partial cost of the Marines relocation, but Hideki Yokeo, president of the Aichi Council Against A&H Bombs, said the Japanese people did not agree to pay for such military expenditure.
Kugimiya agreed. "Japan is suffering from a long economic recession. The Japanese people are carrying many burdens and it's not fair for the Japanese government to use our tax money for the military relocation," she said.

"Through collaboration between members of the Japanese peace movement and the Guam activists, we will try to stop the relocation and tell the U.S. government to bring their troops to the states," Yokoe said.

Chamorro activists gave the Japanese delegation a cultural tour of Guam during their three-day stay on island. They left Guam yesterday.

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