Move the International Date Line? Not likely. - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Move the International Date Line? Not likely.

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - A representative has pitched an idea to make today - tomorrow - in the Aloha State. Hawaii is now making a push to have the International Date Line moved altogether.

For decades Guam has been known as the place "Where America's Day Begins", but Hawaii state representative Gene Ward wants the International Date Line moved so that his state can be the place "Where America Begins Its Day". In an editorial in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Ward announced his plans to introduce a resolution asking Governor Neil Abercrombie to seek the federal government's approval to move the International Date Line.

Essentially, he wants the last to be first. The way the International Date Line is situated now, Hawaii is the last place on the earth to experience each day, while Guam and Micronesia are where the world actually begins. Representative Ward is proposing to move the date line east of Hawaii, saying the benefits would be great.

He wrote, "First, we would become the place where America begins its day. More important, we would truly become the gateway to Asia. Moving the date by one day would give Hawaii five, instead of four, business days with Asia, the fastest-growing and economically vibrant part of our globe, and where most of Hawaii's people originated.  It would allow visitors from Asia to depart from Hong Kong, Tokyo or other well-known Asia cities in the morning, and land in Hawaii the evening of the same day."

Ward contends the change would be quite simple - a mere request to change the International Date Line from federal authorities, to make today tomorrow in Hawaii. Were that to occur, that means Guam currently twenty hours ahead of the Aloha State. If the Date Line were moved, Guam would then be four hours behind Hawaii.

It's an idea Governor Eddie Calvo doesn't think will become a reality. He told KUAM News, "Unless there is some major geographic upheaval of the globe or unless they can find a way to tow the state of Hawaii a couple of thousand miles west, I don't see how they can become 'Where America's Day Begins'," said the island's chief executive. "That is Guam and that's geography and if they can change geography or Greenwich Mean Time, so be it. But Guam will always be Where America's Day Begins."

While Guam has been touted as Where America's Day Begins in various tourism campaigns, Guam Visitors Bureau general manager Gerry Perez says it's an interesting proposition, that it's merely a slogan. "The real meat of the matter is geography," he stated. "That slogan and the change in date doesn't change geography. We're still the closest point to East Asia. We're still the gateway to East Asia, and so no matter how you call the shots, we're still closest to Asia."

But Representative Ward doesn't seem to care and thinks Hawaii will benefit from the change. He intends to introduce a resolution in the legislature and hopes the change will happen before the state hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference this November.

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