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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 November 29 - December 5  > Okinawa Governor urges Foreign Minister to drastically revise SOFA
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2017 November 29 - December 5 [POLITICS]

Okinawa Governor urges Foreign Minister to drastically revise SOFA

December 3, 2017
Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi on December 2 met with Foreign Minister Kono Taro, who was visiting Okinawa for the first time after taking office, in the prefectural office building and demanded a drastic revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

In the meeting, Onaga noted that in the general election in October, voters in Okinawa chose candidates opposing the U.S. base construction in the Henoko district and said that the election results represent Okinwans’ refusal to accept the new military facility. Onaga urged the Abe government to give up the Henoko base construction project which local residents do not accept.

In addition, referring to the murder of an Okinawan woman by a former U.S. marine in April 2016 and a car accident that killed an Okinawan by a drunken U.S. soldier last month, Onaga said that residents have had to put up with an endless succession of accidents and crimes caused by the presence of the U.S. military. Concerning the SOFA, Onaga underscored the need for a drastic revision.

Onaga pointed out that although the Japanese government repeats that it is requesting the U.S. forces to reduce base burdens on Okinawa, he sees little progress.

Foreign Minister Kono stopped short of commenting on the Henoko base issue. On the other hand, citing North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs, Kono asserted that the U.S. military in Japan plays an even more important role in Japan’s security than before.

In the meeting, the governor handed to the Foreign Minister a written request demanding a drastic revision of the SOFA and the cancellation of the Henoko base construction as well as the removal of U.S. MV-22 Osprey aircraft from Okinawa.

After the meeting, Onaga said to the press that he received an impression that Kono wants to imply that a SOFA revision is difficult.

Past related articles:
> Okinawa prosecutor demands life sentence on ex-US marine for rape and murder [November 25, 2017]
> Japan-US SOFA-related guidelines hamper Okinawa’s investigation of US aircraft crash in Takae [October 30, 2017]
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