By Nancy I. Maanao
(Tumon, Guam) Gov. Ralph Torres had the Commonwealth buy him a $3,000.00 business-class roundtrip ticket to Nagoya, Japan and pay him a stipend of $656.25 for a two-day trip there, from March 20 to March 21, 2018.
The illegal nature of the business-class ticket and the oddity of the ticket's round number from Century Travel aside, then-Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog approved the trip for the governor to "meet with Japan Airlines on flight issues and also meet with Congress of Nagoya, Japan."
First of all, Japan Airlines's office is in Shinagawa, Tokyo; not Nagoya. JAL has a ticket office at the airport there. So, unless Japan's corporate officers decided to meet the governor in Nagoya, or the governor took a flight to Tokyo that isn't in his itinerary, this entry is suspect.
The travel authorization does not list the names of people whom the governor would be meeting, as is required by law.
Secondly, there is no Congress of Nagoya. We checked. There is a Nagoya Congress Center, which is a convention center in Nagoya. There was a 2018 Japan Association of Engineers Congress; but that didn't happen until October 17, 2018.
This travel document also is the only one leaked thus far that lacks any evidence of or request for reimbursement for hotel accommodations for the governor. There are no receipts or vouchers indicating where he stayed or what he did with the $656.25 stipend he received.
In December 2016 the Japanese Diet approved the Integrated Resorts Promotion Bill, which legalized casinos in Japan. In June 2018 during the Japan Gaming Conference, GGRAsia interviewed Imperial Pacific International's senior vice president for operations Lu Hou Tsai, who was in Tokyo for that conference. By the following year, it was announced that a major real estate investor from Japan would be investing $500 million into the completion of the Saipan casino.
Over the last two weeks, Kandit has noted that IPI vice president of legal affairs, Viola Alepuyo and Mr. Torres's brother, Victorino, both traveled to Japan. Victorino Torres was accompanied by ex-Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Jay Wolfe.
What was Ralph Torres doing in Japan from March 20 to March 21, 2018? A legislative investigation surely can find out.