The Guam Treaty as a Modern ‘Disposal’ of the Ryukyus

Introduction by Gavan McCormack


Translation by Takeda Kyousuke and Takeda Yuusuke


[Introduction: Little attention internationally was paid to the agreement signed in February, 2009 between the newly commissioned Obama government in the US and the declining and soon to be defeated Aso government in Japan — the Guam Treaty. Many commentators drew the bland conclusion that by choosing Tokyo as her first destination Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was merely showing how highly the Obama government intended to regard the Japan alliance. Another view, advanced in these pages, was less benign. (See "Hillary in Japan – The Enforcer," 22 February 2009) It was that Clinton went quickly to Tokyo fearing the Aso government might collapse in order to tie it and any successor government to the extraordinary deals that had been done between the Pentagon and Japanese governments over the preceding years. The Guam Agreement was the culmination of those deals, Okinawa the sacrificial victim.


Clinton went, in other words, as "enforcer," to lay down the law to Japan on the multi-billions of dollars that were required of it and to press the militarization of Northern Okinawa. Japan was to pay just over $6 billion to relocate 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam (of which $2.8 billion was to be in cash in the current financial year), about $11 billion to build a new base for the marines in Okinawa itself, continuing general subsidies of about $2.2 billion per year ("Sympathy" budget or "Host Nation Facilities Support") towards the costs of US bases in Japan, and payments on Missile Defense systems, estimated by the government of Japan at somewhere between $7.4 and $8.9 billion to the year 2012. As the Japanese economy reeled under the shock of its greatest crisis in 60 years, these were staggering sums

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