OKINAWA UNCERTAINTY TAKES TOLL ON GUAM

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Funding short as Japan wavers on base transfer

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 17, 2010) – A Guam senator says the island is being left in limbo by the US and Japanese governments over plans to transfer 8,000 marines there from Okinawa.

Senator James Espaldon, who is on Guam’s committee on the military build-up, says the territory has not been guaranteed proper funding to ensure that its infrastructure and social programmes can cope with the buildup.

Further uncertainty has been cast over the build-up after Japan again delayed a decision over a US plan to relocate troops on Okinawa for another six months.

Senator Espaldon says the delay could allow more time for concerns over the build-up’s impact to be properly addressed.

"It creates a lot of stress on our part on how we are going to handle this, or is anybody going to help us through difficult times to come. There is going to be a whole change in lifestyle, there’s going to be a change in traffic patterns, there is going to be a change just in society as a whole. And again our infrastructure will also be taxed and yet we have got no real commitments from anybody just yet, whether it is the US Government or Japanese Government in terms of any financial assistance."

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