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You want it? You pay for it.

by John Davis

Guam - It seems U.S. media outlets have much to talk about nowadays as anti-military sentiments of Japan residents grow stronger and more uniformed. To top it off, even a nationally known political commentator and former senior advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, Patrick Buchanan is chiming in.  Too bad they are all forgetting about the impact these negotiations will have on the biggest military buildup post World War II will have on Guam and the people of Guam.

An article published in the Washington Post explains Japan's reluctance to continue fronting cash to host U.S. military forces in Okinawa, including U.S. military bases located throughout the Land of the Rising Sun.  It costs just over 3.9 billion dollars a year to house U.S. troops in Japan, inclusive of utility and infrastructure maintenance and upgrades needed to be made annually.  Of that 3.9 billion dollar price tag, the Empire pays out 2 billion dollars every year as the host to U.S. military forces defending Japan's freedom.  Japan even covers the cost of Japan hired civilians working on U.S. bases.

Aware of how expensive it is for Japan to play host to U.S. Military forces, the former Asian superpower has requested the U.S. Government to pick up more of the 3.9 billion dollar price tag in previous years.  What did it result in?  According to the article in the Washington Post, costs decreased to Japan because of a shrinking economy, reduction in utility payments and the number of Japanese base employees.  Now if that isn't a rip-off to the Japan government and its people, I don't know what is.  The U.S government promised to rebuild Japan, make needed upgrades to infrastructure, and the create jobs, which is probably the reason Japan tolerated the U.S. occupancy of Okinawa for over 60 years.

Even a Professor of international relations stated Japan is no longer in favor of footing majority of the bill for hosting U.S. troops. Professor Eiichi Hoshino was quoted by the Post saying, "Previous (Japan) governments were too willing to pay because they wanted to maintain a special relationship with the United States.  Japan kept paying the kindness budget because it is the one that wanted the U.S. forces to stay.  If the United States wishes to stay here at any cost, it (United States) should be the one who is paying."

On the other hand, a well-known U.S. political commentator, Patrick Buchanan says Japan should be given what they want and all Marines stationed in Japan should be brought home.  In an article written by Buchanan for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the former presidential senior advisor says "A strategic retreat from Eurasia to our own continent and country is inevitable.  Let it begin by graciously acceding to Japan's request we remove our Marines from Okinawa and politely inquiring if they wish us to withdraw U.S. forces from the home Islands as well."

Where would a move like this leave Guam?  Lets take a look.  We know 8600 Marines and 9000 of their dependents are already making their way to Guam as a result of this 2006 Accord agreed to between Japan and the U.S.  We know that like Japan, Guam will be left with a majority share of costs to house these relocating U.S. troops, upgrade our utilities and infrastructure.  We know that like Japan, the U.S. can decide to keep its bases in Okinawa and Futenma because the U.S. Government holds the upper hand in terms of imposing its force to ensure U.S. National Security issues are addressed in the Western Pacific region.  We also know that the Japan government has the money to pay off the United States government to ensure U.S. bases are moved out of Okinawa.

What is not known is many Guam residents are on the same side as Japan residents.  Guam residents mainly oppose the military buildup, but I agree with Professor Hoshino somewhat. If the Japan government and U.S. Government wish to relocate military forces out of Japan and to Guam, the U.S. Government and Japan Government should front all costs associated with this buildup.  Funding for utility upgrades, road upgrades, school upgrades, the construction of a new hospital, hiring of police officers, fire fighters, nurses, teachers and social workers should be subsidized by the 2 governments that both have a hand in the occupation of Guam, past and present.  "If they want it, they shall pay for it."

The President of the United States does not plan to speak to the people of Guam when he arrives in March and the Japan DIET delegation does not plan to meet with the people of Guam during their visit this week.  These 2 countries should not forget the impact this relocation of forces will have on the people of Guam, our people have a long history of relations with the U.S. Government and Japan Government so our people should be given some consideration when these outside governments come to Guam to conduct these fact finding missions and our leaders must make their voice louder so we can all be heard.

The views and opinions expressed in KUAM Columns do not necessarily reflect those of Pacific Telestations, Inc. or its advertisers

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