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U.S. Defense bill wipes out all Guam funding

Date Posted: 2012-01-05

The road to Guam is becoming more slippery than ever as the United States has now joined Japan in slashing funds for transferring U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

U.S. President Barack Obama made it official this week as he signed the Fiscal 2012 defense bill, which cut the total $150 million in funding sought for an initial phase of moving 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam as part of the troops realignment package that includes closing Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in central Okinawa’s Ginowan City, moving it to the northern coast region of Henoko and the Marines’ Camp Schwab.

The Senate had earlier signaled its disapproval of the troop realignment measure, removing the Guam funding from the National Defense Authorization Act. Technically, the Futenma relocation project is still alive, as the Japanese government sent a 7,000-page environmental assessment report to Okinawa Prefecture Government, but it isn’t expected to find any friends in Naha. Governor Hirokazu Nakaima says he won’t approve any land reclamation plans, which would then force Tokyo to either file a lawsuit against Okinawa to demand land reclamation, or else pass a national bill mandating the land reclamation needed to build the new airfield’s runways.

The project was supposed to have been finished by 2014, but the completion dates have already been slipped.

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