The Diet on May 13 approved an agreement that requires Japan,
supposedly a sovereign nation, to pay the cost of constructing a
foreign country’s military base outside Japan as part of a plan to
“relocate” a part of the U.S. Marine Corps to Guam from Okinawa.
Under the agreement, Japan will pay about 2.8 billion dollars for the
construction of U.S. base-related facilities in Guam. The Diet approved
the agreement after only three days of discussion in the House of
Representatives and four days in the House of Councilors without
solving any problems that this might cause to the public
The biggest problem about the agreement is that the “relocation” plan
is conditioned upon the construction of a new U.S. air base in Okinawa.
The agreement reaffirms that this “package” includes all U.S. military
realignment projects as stated in Article 3 to the effect that the
“relocation” to Guam is “dependent on tangible progress” towards the
completion of a new base off the coast of U.S. Camp Schwab in Nago
During the House of Councilors Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense
meeting on April 23, Umemoto Kazuyoshi, director-general of the North
American Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “The
Japanese government intention (to construct a new base) is stated in
this agreement, but this does not mean Japan has the legal obligation
to do so.” However, at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign
Affairs meeting on April 8, Umemoto stated, “If the progress on one
side (Nago) stalls, it will affect the other side (Guam).”
U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa will be reinforced
Secondly, the government explanation that the USMC Guam ‘relocation’
will help reduce Okinawans’ burdens associated with U.S. military
presence was proven to be false in the course of parliamentary
The government in the Diet explained repeatedly that the number of U.S.
Marines stationed in Okinawa will be reduced by 8,000 from the fixed
number of 18,000. But this means that actual reduction can be less if
the current number of Marines deployed is fewer than 18,000. This
suggests that the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa could be reinforced
contrary to the treaty’s objective stated in its preamble, that the
“implementation of the realignment initiatives” will “reduce the burden
on local communities, including those on Okinawa.”
Thirdly, the government failed to show any justifiable reason for using
2.8 billion dollars in tax money to help strengthen U.S. military bases
on Guam. It also became clear that the government, if the treaty goes
into effect, will possibly be urged to make additional payments using
its tax revenue.
In the May 1, 2006 Japan-U.S. Roadmap for Realignment Implementation,
the Japanese government agreed to provide $6.09 billion of the
estimated $10.27 billion cost of the facilities and infrastructure
development costs for the III MEF relocation (8,000 Marines and their
9,000 families) to Guam.
This includes $2.8 billion in direct cash payments, and the rest of
about $33 billion will be funded through loans as development costs for
the construction of family housings and other facilities. However, in
case of loan default for the U.S., the Japanese government will have to
cover it financially.
What’s worse, it came to light that Japan might be forced to pay the
costs for the construction of military facilities of the U.S. Navy and
Air Force as well as the costs for training and movement of Marine
Corps in addition to the ‘relocation’ of the Marine units.
U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway on May 6 told the U.S.
House Appropriations Subcommittee that the plan to ‘relocate’ Marine
Corps units to Guam would be reconsidered. It is not easy for the U.S.
amid the serious economic crisis to “fund the remainder of the
facilities and infrastructure development costs for the relocation to
Guam” of $3.18 billion.
The Guam Agreement will be implemented at the cost of the Japanese
people’s livelihoods, because it will force Japan to continue to
provide funds till 2014.
The Japanese government and the ruling coalition have forced the Diet
to approve this unjustifiable international agreement, which must not
– Akahata, May 14, 2009
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