HAGÅTÑA, Guam—Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Okinawa Gov. Yasuhiro “Denny” Tamaki agreed Friday to cooperate on the planned U.S. military transfer from Okinawa to Guam, describing it as a mutually beneficial process that promotes “lasting peace, friendship, cultural values, the environment, economic prosperity, and security.”
Leon Guerrero welcomed Tamaki to Guam prior to their meeting Friday at the Office of the Governor.
“Governor Tamaki and I shared concerns about the progress of the military realignment, and exchanged ideas on ways we can advance the progress of the military buildup that is mutually beneficial to Okinawa and Guam,” said Leon Guerrero. “He understood Guam’s limited position as it relates to the bilateral agreement between the U.S. federal government and the government of Japan and pledged to advance Guam’s concerns regarding the lack of access to temporary workers when he meets with U.S. federal officials in Washington, D.C. in October.”
During their meeting, Tamaki emphasized that he is not opposed to U.S. military presence in Japan and understands its importance for maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. However, he pointed out that the island of Okinawa absorbs over 70 percent of all U.S. military bases in Japan while the Okinawa Prefecture comprises just 0.6% of Japan’s total land mass. Tamaki is pushing for the return of excess land and pointed out that whenever the U.S. returns land, the nearby communities benefit from increased economic opportunities.
Leon Guerrero agreed on the point and noted that she is currently pushing for the return of 2,600 acres of excess land from the military.
“I respect the interests of Gov. Tamaki and the Okinawan people and their desire for economic growth and expansion. I had the opportunity to share with him the history of foreign labor on Guam and how crucial it is to our economic growth. I appreciate Gov. Tamaki’s commitment to raise our concerns regarding the shortage of H-2B labor to the U.S. federal government,” Leon Guerrero added. (PR)