2 Feb 2012

US reconsidering Guam marine transfer

1:34 pm on 2 February 2012

The United States defence department is reported to be considering moving thousands of marines from Japan to parts of the Pacific other than Guam.

The US government and Japan agreed last year that the relocation of the eight-thousand Okinawa marines and their dependents to Guam, part of a broader 2006 accord to reorganise American troops in Japan, would occur as soon as possible after 2014.

However, the news agency Kyodo reports that Pentagon officials are considering transferring about three-thousand marines to Hawaii and other Pacific countries because of Guam's vulnerability to a catastrophic attack.

China's growing military activity and US budgetary constraints are factors reported to be behind the proposal to disperse the marines over a wider area.

While Guam's infrastructure needs extensive investment to accommodate the planned influx of troops, Kyodo reports that it's believed that Hawaii, which already hosts about 10-thousand marines, could easily take more.

This week Guam's Governor Eddie Calvo described the planned military build-up as a way out of poverty for thousands drowning in debt and unhappiness.