Delay in US marines` move from Okinawa to Guam: Report

Guam`s infrastructure can`t handle rapid construction schedule, says US Navy.

Tokyo: The planned transfer of some 8,000 US marines based on the Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam by 2014 will be delayed due to lack of infrastructure in the US Pacific territory, a report said on Saturday.

The US Navy told the Guam government on Thursday that the island`s infrastructure cannot handle such a rapid construction schedule, the Daily Yomiuri reported from Washington, without giving its source.

The US government has effectively given up its target of completing the transfer in 2014 and also informed Tokyo of the delay, the daily said.

The transfer plan, also involving the relocation of some 9,000 military family members, is part of a 2006 agreement between Tokyo and Washington aimed at reducing a heavy US military presence on Okinawa.

Another part of the deal involves the relocation of the US Futenma marine corps air station from a fast growing urban area to a less developed coastal part of Okinawa.

The Futenma issue has angered islanders as the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan pledged to move the base outside Okinawa when it came to power last year but later reneged on the promise.

The Navy`s Joint Guam Program Office (JGPO) said in a statement assessing the environmental impact of the marines` transfer by 2014 that it "recognised that Guam`s infrastructure may not be able to handle such a rapid construction pace," according to the daily.

The delay would be officially announced within the month, the report said.

Japan has agreed to shoulder nearly 60 percent of the total budget of USD 10 billion for moving the marines from Okinawa to Guam.

Bureau Report

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