Hagåtña, Guam – Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Governor of Okinawa Yasuhiro “Denny” Tamaki engaged in important and productive discussions today, resulting in the two leaders agreeing to cooperate in the interest of lasting peace, friendship, cultural values, the environment, economic prosperity, and security.
Governor Leon Guerrero warmly welcomed Governor Tamaki prior to their meeting today at the Office of the Governor.
“I am honored to meet Governor Tamaki and I’m very pleased with the outcome of our discussions. Governor Tamaki and I shared concerns about the progress of the military realignment, and exchanged ideas on ways we can advance the progress of the military buildup that is mutually beneficial to Okinawa and Guam,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “He understood Guam’s limited position as it relates to the bilateral agreement between the U.S. Federal Government and the Government of Japan and pledged to advance Guam’s concerns regarding the lack of access to temporary workers when he meets with U.S. Federal officials in Washington D.C. in October.”
During their meeting, Governor Tamaki emphasized that he is not opposed to U.S. military presence in Japan and understands its importance for maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. However, he pointed out that the island of Okinawa absorbs over 70 percent of all U.S. military bases in Japan while the Okinawa Prefecture comprises just 0.6 percent of Japan’s total land mass. Governor Tamaki is pushing for the return of excess land and pointed out that whenever the U.S. returns land, the nearby communities benefit from increased economic opportunities. Governor Leon Guerrero agreed on the point and noted that she is currently pushing for the return of 2,600 acres of excess land from the military.
“I respect the interests of Governor Tamaki and the Okinawan people and their desire for economic growth and expansion. I had the opportunity to share with him the history of foreign labor on Guam and how crucial it is to our economic growth. I appreciate Governor Tamaki’s commitment to raise our concerns regarding the shortage of H-2B labor to the U.S. Federal Government,” Governor Leon Guerrero concluded.