Lower House committee unanimously calls for SOFA's review

The House of Representativers Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a unanimous resolution on July 10 calling on the government to consider reviewing the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

The resolution was the first such ever adopted in Japan's parliament. Referring to the recent raping by a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant of a young woman in Okinawa, the resolution states that measures such as tougher discipline and education of personnel which the U.S. promised every time such incidents occurred have not worked.

The resolution also pointed out that the central government is responsible for the protection of the lives and the human rights of local residents against incidents and accidents which derive from the existence of U.S. bases in Japan.

Pointing out that 523 felony crimes were committed by U.S. military personnel in Okinawa during the 27 years since 1972, when Okinawa's administrative rights were returned to Japan from the U.S. , Akamine questioned the foreign minister whether U.S. bases in Okinawa should be reduced as a means to prevent U.S. soldiers' crimes."

Foreign Minister Tanaka Makiko in answer said, "Maintaining the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is the government policy," indicating that the government is reluctant to call for a revision of the SOFA and reductions of U.S. bases in Okinawa. (end)

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