Tourism updates:

United Airlines announced Feb. 22 its Japan and Guam summer flight schedule, effective March 26. United will increase flights on all routes between Guam and Japan – Narita-Tokyo, Chubu/Nagoya, Kansai/Osaka, and Fukuoka – to a total of 56 flights a week.

“In particular, United continues to strengthen the Narita-Guam route and will increase its flights from 18 to 25 flights per week and plans to operate up to four daily flights to meet strong passenger demand,” the airline said in a release.

United also announced that Japan will launch two new trans-Pacific flights and increase frequency to a total of 10 daily flights, expanding connectivity options through 70 weekly flights to the U.S. mainland. See for further details.

Guam saw 56,683 arrivals in January, according to the Guam Visitors Bureau. The majority of these – 39,633 came from Korea, with 7,233 from the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. Japan accounted for 4,806 visitors.

In January 2020, Guam saw 157,479 arrivals, up from 147,507 in January 2019.

In other GVB news, the re-scheduled membership election is scheduled for Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Hotel Nikko Guam. The previous election was cancelled, due to lack of a quorum. The upcoming election is not a meeting, but an opportunity for members to vote once the quorum is certified, according to GVB.

The agenda includes certification of a quorum, and election of directors, but does not include ratification of the bylaws by the membership.

In the previous meeting – which was closed to voting due to lack of a quorum – four businesspeople were ready to stand for the four membership board directorships. They were Paula Monk, director of sales, United Airlines; William Nault, president and CEO of Nautech Guam Corp.; Carlos R. Taitano, director of global learning and engagement, University of Guam; and Rachel Tan, vice president of operations for T Galleria by DFS, Mid Pacific.

Three other businesspeople have now thrown their hat in the ring for seats on the board, according to GVB – George Chiu, vice president of Tan Holdings; Joaquin P.L.G. Cook, president and CEO of Bank of Guam; and Jeffrey B. Jones, president and chief operating officer of Triple J Enterprises Inc.

In a Feb. 10 letter to the membership Carl T.C. Gutierrez, president of GVB, said – without identifying the three, “These nominees are not individuals holding GVB memberships. They are designated representatives of corporate members. However, it is not clear that corporations can sit on government boards. Another issue relates to the nomination process. It has long been closed. Now the Bureau is put in the position of entertaining floor nominations when there is no process in the bylaws for it or for write-ins. Most of all, this is not equitable for the four nominees whose nominations were timely.”

However, now all nominees have been requested to submit headshots with their nominations. 

The nomination deadline is 5 p.m. on Feb. 22. The proxy deadline is 5 p.m. on Feb. 23.

According to Journal files, GVB had 117 members prior to its Oct. 5 renewal deadline, but expected more to join.


Labor market news:

Home Depot ups the ante for employees

In its Feb. 21 release on fourth quarter and fiscal 2022, The Home Depot – which does business in Guam – Ted Decker, its chairman, president and CEO said, “Our ability to deliver growth on top of the $40 billion of sales growth achieved over the prior two-year period, while navigating persistent inflation, ongoing global supply chain disruptions, and a tight labor market, is a testament to investments we have made in the business, as well as our associates’ relentless focus on our customers.”

Decker went on to say, “The Home Depot’s associates are a key differentiator and competitive advantage for the company. In alignment with its core values, the company will invest in wage, benefits, training and career development for its associates.

Beginning in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, The Home Depot will invest an additional approximately $1 billion in annualized compensation for frontline, hourly associates.”

Find the news release at


Australia to open doors for Pacific citizens

From July and annually, residents of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and South Pacific countries will be able to apply for a chance to live in Australia.

Up to 3,000 visas will be allocated each year by a new ballot process, or visa lottery. “Those selected from the ballot will be invited to apply for permanent residence. Applicants will need to secure a written employment agreement in Australia and meet other migration requirements to be eligible for the visa. Applicants may include their partner and legally dependent children, as part of the total annual visa allocation,” according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Applicants must be aged 18 to 45.

According to the department, “The PEV is being designed in close consultations with partner governments and Pacific communities to ensure the program meets the needs and priorities of a peaceful, prosperous, and resilient Pacific family.”

Applications for the ballot are to be lodged online with the Australian Department of Home Affairs, with more information to be released before July.

The new arrangement is likely to be discussed at the Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders Retreat in Fiji, taking place this week. Australia is one of the 18 members of the forum.

Other items on the Forum agenda include an update on the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the Government of Japan’s plan to release ALPS -treated water into the Pacific Ocean, according to Forum’s secretariat.


About those balloons …

 James C. Moylan, Guam’s delegate to Congress and Addison Graves “Joe” Wilson) both members of the House Armed Services Committee and both Republicans, issued a joint statement “calling on the Biden administration to reveal the truth to the American people about the trajectory of the spy balloon recently launched by the Chinese Communist Party toward Guam, and destroyed over South Carolina,” according to a Feb. 22 release.

“It is shocking to learn from The Washington Post (February 15) that U.S. monitors tracked the Chinese Communist Party spy balloon from its Hainan Island origin in China, over Guam, then across America until its ultimate destruction by a U.S. fighter jet off the coast of South Carolina,” the statement said. mbj