Guam not ready for Okinawa’s Marines, officials say

Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
February 28, 2012

The U.S. and Japan might be moving forward with plans to relocate thousands of Marines off of Okinawa, but it will be years before those troops could be stationed on Guam, according to the Navy and the territorial government there.

At a minimum, the U.S. military will take about two years to decide where on Guam to build needed training ranges for the Marines, and construction work would take longer, the Navy’s Joint Guam Program Office said.

Meanwhile, big questions remain on how and when the territory’s sewage treatment facilities will be upgraded to support about 4,700 more servicemembers and a possible increase in military families.

The U.S. and Japan began hashing out a new agreement on the military realignment earlier this month in an attempt to jump start the redeployment of Okinawa Marines to Guam. The effort was held up for years because of Okinawan opposition to building a new Marine Corps air station on the island as a replacement for the Futenma air station.

Now, both countries say they will not wait for a solution before relocating Marine forces to the U.S. territory, which sits about 1,400 miles to the southeast Okinawa. …

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