Nippon investments

The sale and closure of Nippon investments here in recent past seemed to have faded into the sunset unnoticed. Isn’t this a major economic contraction our men of wisdom on the hill should be concerned about? Do we have any sense of history? Or is it something simply ignored by so-called elected elite as a direct result of a leadership vacuum? Would reinventing this sector be met with trust or is this basically history too?

The partnership matters, given the primordial relationship we’ve had before the hostilities here in the mid-’40s. Our Japanese friends were a part of our developmental history then, including their return in the early ’60s.

Recalled the return of those born here then in the mid-’60s via PanAm 707 flight from Tokyo. How sentimental a journey, seeing home once more. It was a trip that included a tour of Garapan, the main city here before the war.

Two issues Japan placed here before the war: A literate indigenous population and a healthy economy from the land and sea. The train at the Matsue monument in Garapan represents a healthy sugar industry here before the war. Its sugar export to Japan included local farm and sea products feeding a larger population in Tokyo. We had a decent economy!

Nippon re-investment was so healthy that we told the U.S. Congress in 1993 to refrain from giving the CNMI any more funds for CIP for we have sufficient locally raised revenues for this and other needs. Japanese investors brought us tons of wealth without casino gambling!

Reportedly, the cumulative loss of Nippon investment here in recent past is around $7 billion. Not sure how it came about but the loss is humongous and I doubt that it has been restored in recent years. This needs revisiting to ensure we have sufficient revenues for our fast-growing needs.

Indicators

Has the NMI done due diligence on economic indicators to secure an informed or educated view of its posture? Forensic review should include gross domestic product, labor market statistics, inflation indicators, balance of payment, household expenditure, retail sales, consumer confidence, house price index, and public sector expenditure and debt.

Unless we have minute information on these issues, our journey remains headed to a distant destination aboard a canoe with shredded sails. What a journey this would be, chancing everything with the usual la mañana. Has anyone figured out what is south? Must buckle down to responsible assessment of current economic posture.

Raw emotion

Across the sea, the contentious confirmation of newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has inflamed the political divide into the Potomac of uncertainty.

Reportedly, it’s also given new definition to the high stakes of November’s midterm election. An AP Analysis said it thus: “Until now, the fight for control of Congress has largely been viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s first two years in office.

“But the turmoil surrounding Kavanaugh has transformed the midterms into something bigger than Trump, with implications that could endure long after his presidency.” The president may not be the norm versus our ways but he’s succeeded for all of us.

Chamoru land rights

It may be a long journey but the first step would be taken to claim indigenous land rights to the island of Guam that belongs to the Chamorus.

It was claimed by the U.S. after the American-Spanish War in 1898. A ship was sent out to Guam for the claim. It has since been under the U.S.

What do colonial powers make of indigenous landowners? Aren’t they entitled to common human dignity too? Why would they exercise sovereign disposition of indigenous land?

The local people acceded in quiet common knowledge, wary they don’t have the strength or weaponry to fight any of the colonial powers. It would be indigenous genocide. I say it’s time to grant the Chamorus on Guam their land.

Rain

The heavy downpour has drenched the island since a day before. It hasn’t slowed down a bit but has forced most everything down to a snail pace, e.g., traffic.

The rainy season brings renewal to the island flora. It also brings some sentimental journey of long ago, e.g., walking to the farm in the wind-driven rain to feed our livestock. It was once a dreadful walk, muddy and cold. It was survival chores for many kids then.

The next day we had to do with the breakfast of champions—faucet water in our tummy—as we head to class in the morning.

Yes, I hear heavy drizzle upstairs on the tin roof of the porch at home. It’s a familiar sound I heard a long time ago at the old family house in Lali Fo`. It’s that melodic sound of yester-years!

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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