Guam and Okinawa have a shared history of exploitation by their governments — and a shared threat from new military installations.
In January, three residents from the U.S. territory of Guam visited Japan to express their solidarity with Okinawans struggling to block construction of new U.S. military facilities on their island.
During their 10-day stay, the members of Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian — Monaeka Flores, Stasia Yoshida and Rebekah Garrison — participated in sit-in demonstrations and gave a series of lectures explaining the similarities between Guam and Okinawa.
The Japanese prefecture of Okinawa is host to 31 U.S. bases, which take up 15 percent of the main island. On the U.S. territory of Guam, the Department of Defense owns 29 percent of the island — more than the local government, which owns only 19 percent. And if the U.S. military gets its way, its share there will soon grow.
Currently, the Japanese and U.S. governments are planning to relocate roughly 4,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam — a move, the authorities assert, that will reduce the military burden on Okinawa. Tokyo has also started to return land currently used by the U.S. military — but only if new facilities are built elsewhere on the island.
During their visit to Japan, the three Guam residents saw firsthand the problems local residents are facing.