Report: U.S., Japan to sign Marine relocation accord
The U.S. and Japan will sign an accord that will spell out exactly how some $6.09 billion Japan has promised to allocate to move Marines from Okinawa to Guam will be spent, according to the national Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
Citing unnamed Japanese government sources, the paper said the accord will "include a clause prohibiting Japan’s financial contribution to the relocation to be used for other purposes."
The cost of moving some 8,000 Marines and their families to Guam is expected to cost a total of $10.3 billion.
The accord is designed to gain public approval and allay growing fears that Japan’s financial contribution could be redirected to other projects on Guam, the paper’s sources said. It will clarify how the money will be used.
It is estimated that the buildup on Guam — which is to include upgrading the island’s major port, building new military housing and making facility improvements to Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam — will eventually boost the number of servicemembers, DOD employees and their families from 14,000 to 40,000. That would increase the island’s total population by 25 percent, severely taxing the island’s existing infrastructure, according to the Joint Guam Program Office.
The island is hoping the U.S. government will include funds for much needed improvements to its roads, utilities, health care and housing in the federal budget, starting in 2010.
In a related move, Japan’s Ministry of Defense announced last week that it is budgeting about $345 million this year for programs related to realigning U.S. troops in Japan, which includes building a new Marine air facility on Okinawa and moving Marine units to Guam.