Guam's role in realignment to be revealed - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam's role in realignment to be revealed

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Over the last couple days in the nation's capitol, the U.S. and Japan have been in discussions about possible amendments to the 2006 roadmap to realignment and the 2009 Guam International Agreement. By this time tomorrow night we'll finally hear what those discussions will mean for the territory.

It hit the wires last Friday in the Japan Times and today made headlines in the Washington Post. The U.S. and Japan are expected to announce changes to their agreement forged in 2006 regarding the realignment of forces in Japan. A part of that plan was to move 8,000 Marines to Guam and to relocate an air base in Okinawa to a less populated area on the island referred to as the Futenma Replacement Facility.

Talks are underway in DC, but State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland would only confirm today that the U.S. and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining and enhancing robust security alliances. She said, "They made clear that we all remain fully committed to the implementation of the Futemna replacement facility and the relocation of the air base to Camp Schwab. We made clear that Guam remains an essential part of our larger Asia Pacific strategy, including Guam as a strategic hub, and to establishing operational Marine Corps presence on Guam and relocating some of our Marines from Okinawa to Guam. But with regard to any further details, that's all I have for you at the moment."

Those details according to governor's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark will be made either late tonight or early tomorrow morning when the U.S. and Japan issue a joint statement. Clark telling KUAM News, Governor Eddie Calvo as on the line today with Navy Undersecretary Robert Work who informed him about the pending announcement. "That should provide more clarity relative to the numbers, there's a lot of speculation now from zero to 8,000 to 4,700, so we should have a better number tomorrow at what that figure looks like," he said.

Clark adds Governor Calvo had raised concern with undersecretary work on the preference of the permanent staff and headquarter command component but says although a statement will be issued, it is still subject to revision.

It's likely the U.S. and Japan will announce that it will delink the contentious issue of the Futenma Replacement Facility from the actual troop realignment. This will allow for the relocation of troops to move forward, but not as many will be coming to Guam. Under the initial agreement 8,000 were expected to be relocate from Okinawa to Guam. Now, Guam reportedly might only see a little less than 5,000 of those troops with the remaining Marines to be rotated to other Pacific areas like Hawaii, Australia and the Philippines.

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