Saturday morning’s Asahi reported on the Pentagon’s disclosure that some $400 million in funding for facilities improvement projects at five U.S. bases in Japan is part of the $3.6 billion in defense spending that will be diverted to finance President Trump’s signature policy of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The construction of hangars at Yokota AB and Kadena AB, a fueling station at MCAS Iwakuni, and several other military projects will reportedly be affected. Funding for schools at Yokosuka Naval Station and Camp McTureous in Okinawa will also be frozen to pay for the border project. The daily speculated that the Trump administration may ask the Japanese side to cover some of the costs of implementing these defunded programs.
In a related story, Okinawa Times wrote on Saturday from Washington that the planned relocation of Okinawa Marines to Guam will likely be delayed from FY2024 to FY2026 because military construction projects on the Pacific island will be diverted for border wall construction. According to the daily, a total of $257 million in Guam military initiatives, including a machine gun range, water well development, and munitions storage, will be delayed due to the diversion. According to the daily, an unnamed senior DOD official predicted that design work for the gun range will be postponed by at least one year and that it may be delayed further unless new congressional funding is obtained. The paper added that when talking to the press after a visit to Guam last month, Okinawa Governor Tamaki disclosed that he was told by local USMC authorities that the transfer would begin in or around FY2024.