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The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement has created a situation where the Japanese side has no say in incidents involving the U.S. military in Japan.

10 Comments

Okinawan Governor Takeshi Onaga, commenting after a U.S. military helicopter crashed off Uruma City in eastern Okinawa. Onaga complained that the prefectural government has not received detailed information about the accident. (NHK)

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the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement needs to be revise.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The U.S. would have never agreed to the reversion of Okinawa if the Japanese Govt. had not allowed the U.S. to retain full control of the U.S. bases on Okinawa. The J-Govt. has no say in what the U.S. has or does on Okinawa as far as the bases are concerned. That is why you never see any proposals coming from the Japanese side concerning Revisions of SOFA are closing or reducing of U.S. facilities on Okinawa, everything comes from the U.S. side and the J-Govt. just agrees to it and pays for it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is just opportunism on the part of the Governor. I don't see anywhere near the same level of scrutiny when SDF vehicles crash.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Every time there is an accident or incident, there are calls for "SOFA revision" from left wing politicians and the anti-base crowd - but when you ask them, OK, what specific portion or article do you propose be revised and what is your suggested wording, you get nothing, because they haven't read it and don't understand it. It's just a sound bite for the media, "Revise the SOFA......."

The SOFA is below Gov Onaga, what do you propose specifically be changed?

http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/usa/sfa/pdfs/fulltext.pdf

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The U.S. would have never agreed to the reversion of Okinawa if the Japanese Govt. had not allowed the U.S. to retain full control of the U.S. bases on Okinawa.

Exactly right. Not mentioned is that America fought for every square meter of territory in the battle for Okinawa, and the battle cost many lives on both sides. The price for Okinawa was paid for in blood, and though politicians on either side may forget or overlook that fact, the military will not, and in security issues in the Asian Pacific, the military has a lot of influence.

Abe's statements about Japan being able to "support America militarily" in a time of war points to the possible goal of one day replacing the American bases on Okinawa with Japanese bases. For it's small size, Okinawa is strategically located, and has more military value than anything else.

Governor Onaga is not likely going to see the day that the Americans leave Okinawa, but a military presence will always remain, be it Japanese or American.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Conquering countries always do that. It is called "extratorriality". You cannot be punished by the host country, but only sent back to the country of origin where you are let go. It is a standard colonial practice.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The SOFA was written in 1965, long before Okinawa reverted to Japan so it needs to be revised to reflect the situation on Okinawa which is completely different from Mainland Japan where most U.S. Facilities are Joint Facilities with the JSDF. Okinawa Prefecture Authorities need to have faster access to the bases in the case of accidents, when crimes are committed and to conduct Environmental Surveys. The OPG requested 5 months ago to enter Camp Schwab to check and see if coral had been damaged by work on the new Henoko Facility but were just recently granted permission to do so. Civilians and dependents should have to go through Japanese Immigration. There are American Civilians under SOFA who work on base in Okinawa who have been here for 40 years, own property etc. but are unknown to immigration. On-base facilities that serve Japanese Nationals and receive payment in Japanese Yen should be required to pay Japanese Taxes. These facilities bring in their products tax free, sell to Local Nationals and take away business from off-base businesses, receive Yen as payment but pay no Japanese Taxes. This includes on-base Golf Courses which do not accept yen but still allow Japanese Nationals to play Golf and charge them considerably more than SOFA status personnel. This is a violation of the SOFA status but yet the J-Govt. doses nothing about it.

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-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japanforlife: You do not know what you are talking about. I used to work for the Department of Defence. Had SOFA status. After I left that job, my Japnese green card had blank for my date of entry, but the immigration office knew who I was and am. No SOFA peson can buy property off base! On base yes, much before, but did not really own the "P" house as they are called. Study SOFA before posting rumors please. Thanks

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@MyTimeisYourTime: I have lived on Okinawa since 1967 and have been on every U.S. Facility on Okinawa and know a lot of SOFA Status people. SOFA persons who buy property on Okinawa have local wives who have the property in their names but make no mistake the property is bought by the SOFA person and they consider that property to be theirs. I should have added that in my post and I did not mean to mislead anyone. As far as I know nobody can buy property on-base. I do not post rumors, when I post I post from knowledge of my years on Okinawa and my time spent inside U.S. facilities. Would you care to comment on my remarks about on-base facilities selling to Local Nationals and accepting Yen as payment should be subject to Japanese Taxes and also on-base Golf Courses allowing Japanese Nationals to play and charging them way more than they charge SOFA Status Personnel?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have said it before and I will say it again.

Everyone with issues regarding the U.S. military presence in Okinawa and the current SOFA should focus their anger on the Japanese national government.

If the Japanese national government doesn't care about the feelings and concerns of the Okinawa people and government and if the things that are important to them (national security, bilateral relationships, etc.) outweigh what is important to the people of Okinawa, then that is an issue regarding the national government.

Frankly, given the apathy of the Japanese population as a whole when it comes to politics, I doubt that the people of Okinawa will be able to persuade the rest of the country to pressure the government to change its policy and they certainly won't be able to persuade the rest of the country to elect a national government that will support the goals of the people of Okinawa.

So, the people of Okinawa will have to decide. Do they spend countless more decades banging on about this and getting nowhere. Or do they begin to ratchet up the pressure. We should all remember that the rather aggressive efforts of the people of Okinawa is what helped convince the U.S. that returning Okinawa to Japan was really the only option.

It seems to me that the people of Okinawa should use any and all means to convince the Japanese national government of the same thing. That the demands of the people of Okinawa have to be met.... or else!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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