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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 14 - 20  > JCP Akamine criticizes gov’t for refusing to revise Japan-US SOFA
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2018 November 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

JCP Akamine criticizes gov’t for refusing to revise Japan-US SOFA

November 14, 2018

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Akamine Seiken on November 13 at a House of Representatives Security Committee meeting criticized the Abe government for refusing to consider revising the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which allows the U.S. military to enjoy a wide range of special privileges in Japan.

At the meeting, Akamine said that Foreign Minister Kono Taro last week justified the U.S. military’s privileged status by saying that it is a matter of course that the Japan-U.S. SOFA is different from those that NATO countries have with the U.S. Kono’s remark was made at a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting on November 7 in response to JCP lawmaker Koike Akira who stated that the Japan-U.S. SOFA is far more submissive compared with the U.S. agreements in Germany and Italy.

Akamine also said that at the November 7 Upper House meeting, in an effort to make the remark sound convincing, Kono stated that NATO nations have mutual security obligations with the U.S. and Japan does not. Akamine pointed out that in Germany and Italy, SOFAs became what they are today because of public opposition triggered by crashes of U.S. military aircraft and other incidents, throwing doubt on Kono’s argument that the unfair SOFA stem from the absence of a mutual security obligation.

Kono in reply noted that at last week’s Upper House meeting, he just intended to say that it is difficult to compare the Japan-U.S. SOFA with SOFAs in other countries. Kono added that he mentioned the mutual security obligation just as one example of many factors to be considered in any such comparison. He did not present a convincing reason why Japan should without question accept a SOFA that is more disadvantageous than those in other countries.

Aakamine noted that the National Governors’ Association in July proposed that the Japan-U.S. SOFA be revised so that Japan’s Aviation Law and environment-related laws will be applied to the U.S. military and that Japan’s law enforcement officials will be able to quickly conduct investigations of accidents and crimes involving the U.S. military. He stressed that the government should sincerely listen to the governors’ call.

Past related articles:
> JCP publishes five-point proposal to create a peaceful Japan making best use of pacifist Constitution [October 15, 2018]
> US F-16 fighter jet flies at ultralow altitude, violating aviation rules [April 27, 2018]
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