Irresponsible: JCP on U.S. soldier's arrest, blames Status of Forces Agreement

The United States on July 6 agreed to hand over to Japan the U.S. soldier suspected of raping a Japanese woman in Chatan Town.Twenty-four-year-old Staff Sgt. Timothy Woodland was arrested on the same day, four days after an arrest warrant was issued.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi told reporters that "it was irresponsible." He went on to say:

"The incident has enraged Okinawans and the whole nation. It is serious that the prime minister cautioned the nation not to be too bitter and asked Okinawans to calm down, thus standing on the U.S. side.

"U.S. military personnel's crimes will never be eradicated unless U.S. bases are removed from Okinawa. But even before that, the Japanese government must stand firm in changing the current environment that gives U.S. forces freedom to trample down the human rights of the Japanese people and threaten their lives and security.

"It is necessary to fundamentally revise the humiliating Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement which gives the U.S. Forces and their personnel extra-territorial rights." (end)