Okinawa calls for review of SOFA

A U.S. Marine officer's attempt to rape a woman (revealed on December 3) has angered Okinawans, giving rise to renewed calls for the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to be fundamentally reviewed.

The Japanese Communist Party Okinawa Prefectural Committee's members on December 4 visited the Okinawa Prefectural government, the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Okinawa Office to demand a drastic review of the SOFA.

JCP Okinawa Committee Vice-Chair Hokama Hisako criticized the prefectural and central governments for their repeated empty promises to "prevent such incidents" whenever U.S. military personnel commit crimes. The matter is particularly serious at this time because the suspect is an officer responsible for exercising leadership in preventing such crimes, she added.

Pointing out that such incidents will keep occurring as long as U.S. bases exist in Okinawa, JCP members demanded that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty be abrogated and all U.S. military bases be removed.

The Gushikawa City Assembly on the same day adopted a unanimous resolution calling for a drastic review of the SOFA and the U.S. forces' cooperation with Japan's criminal investigations.

The resolution stated that Okinawan people can no longer allow themselves to be passive victims of crimes committed by U.S. military personnel and civilian employees. (end)