Governor Abercrombie suggests hosting Marines in Hawaii

Governor Abercrombie suggests hosting Marines in Hawaii

At the East-West Center in the University of Hawaii, panelists exchanged opinions on the subject of “U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa.”


March 12, 2013 Chikako Nago of Ryukyu Shimpo

The Uchinanchu Talk Story 3 was held on March 10 at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii. Two keynote speakers and five panelists exchanged opinions on the subject of “U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa.” Hawaii State Governor Neil Abercrombie, who was invited as a guest speaker, suggested moving Marine Corps personnel from Okinawa to Pohakuloa on the island of Hawaii. The state has started planning for the building of family residential facilities to host Marines. He said that after talking to residents he seek approval from the state legislature and the federal legislature.

Governor Abercrombie suggested that relocating the Marines to Guam is financially difficult and that Guam does not have the capacity to host them. He also said that relocating the Marines to Guam with financial support from the Japanese government is not a sustainable option, and went on to say that it would only worsen the relationship between the Japanese government and Okinawa.

About 150 people took part in what was the first public forum in Hawaii to discuss the U.S. military presence in Okinawa. The event was hosted by the University of Hawaii students’ Akisamiyo-! Club, the East-West Center, and the Worldwide Uchinanchu Business Network. Panelists were professor of constitutional law of the University of the Ryukyus Tetsumi Takara, United States Marines Corps Colonel Grant Newsham, director of the Regional Security Policy Division at the Executive Office of the Governor of Okinawa, Naoya Iju, senior research fellow at the Research Institute for Peace and Security, Tetsuo Kotani, and freelance writer Tomohiro Yara.

Former chair of the Center for Japanese Studies at University of Hawaii, Robert Huey, who served as the moderator, summed up the forum stating, “Everyone agreed that the current situation in Okinawa is not desirable. Let’s try to explore the scenario for the United States and create the best for Okinawa.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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