by Mindy Aguon
Guam - After visiting Guam and Okinawa and after meeting with some of Guam's lawmakers today, Virginia Senator Jim Webb will chair the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs hearing tomorrow (Guam time) in hopes to have a comprehensive examination of the relationship between the United States and Japan. "The U.S.-Japan alliance has preserved for generations a largely stable environment in Asia which has directly and crucially contributed to the region's robust economic growth and political strengthening," said the senator.
According to a release issued by the policymaker, the hearing will include the testimony of three expert witnesses on U.S.-Japan relations: Dr. George Packard, President, United States-Japan Foundation; Richard Katz, Editor-in-Chief, The Oriental Economist Report; and Dr. Michael Auslin, Director of Japan Studies, American Enterprise Institute. Webb noted that the Senate needs to discuss the importance of U.S.-Japan economic relations and security alliance as they impact the future stability of a dramatically changing East Asian region especially as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the United States-Japan security Alliance.
The hearing comes at a time the U.S. is waiting on Japan to decide whether it intends to stick to status of forces agreement for the relocation of the Futenma air base to Kenoko on Okinawa, which will ensure the relocation of U.S. Marines to Guam. Some officials in Japan's government have been pushing for Guam to take all of the Marines in Okinawa - something local officials have made clear is not feasible for the territory and its people.