Japan Continues to Fund U.S. Move to Guam

by: Matthew Potter
December 28, 2010

Category: Business Line, Companies, Congress, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, Department of Defense, Events, Federal Budget Process, Japan, logistics, Military Aviation, production program, Proposal, Restructuring, Services, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy | RSS 2.0

Since 1945 the U.S. has maintained bases and troops in Japan. The largest footprint was on the island of Okinawa where the U.S. Marines have most of a division and air wing stationed as well as supporting units. After lengthy negotiations with the Japanese government the majority of those troops will move to new facilities at Guam and the major airfield be relocated to a less populated part of Okinawa.

As part of their defense spending Japan contributes funds to maintain the U.S. bases in their country and is also committing to provide funding for the move of the thousands of Marines, sailors and families to Guam. In the latest defense budget announced last week $416 million has been set aside to aid the move which is about one percent of their total defense spending for 2011.

Between the United States and Japan billions are being spent to create the base at Guam, clean up Okinawa and work on the new airfield. The last is very controversial as the government and most people in Okinawa would like the U.S. airfield be gone not just moved. The funding set aside by Japan does not include money for the new airbase as political wrangling about its location continues.

Guam stands to benefit from the thousands of new military personnel and their families moving to that island adding millions to the economy. At the same time the U.S. must increase all aspects of its infrastructure including roads, schools, hospitals and water supply.

As the U.S. cuts defense spending there may be pressure to move troops from overseas bases back to the U.S. This will create mini-booms in the areas where these troops will be based as the military populations increase dramatically. The opposite will happen to the areas where they move from such as Germany where not all members of the local government and business community were happy to see the U.S. leave as they consolidated bases over the last twenty years.

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