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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 June 29 - July 5  > USFJ will not let Okinawa unearth cultural assets on bases
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2016 June 29 - July 5 [US FORCES]

USFJ will not let Okinawa unearth cultural assets on bases

June 29, 2016
Experts have been unable to carry out the research of cultural properties on the U.S. Futenma base in Okinawa due to a pact Japan and the U.S. signed in September 2015 as supplementary to the Japan-U.S. Forces Agreement (SOFA).

This pact is about environmental surveys on U.S. military bases, stipulating that municipal organizations are allowed to enter U.S. bases for research purposes before the return of to-be-surveyed bases to Japan. It also stipulates that such investigations, however, start only seven months prior to a scheduled date of the base handover to Japan.

Asked about this 7-month-clause by reporters at a press conference, Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi on June 27 criticized the pact, saying, “I cannot find what in the SOFA was improved.”

Since 1999, excavation research on buried cultural assets inside the premises of the U.S. Futenma base had occasionally taken place. However, since the new pact was concluded last year, the U.S. military has not allowed any research to take place on the U.S. bases, according to Okinawan local papers.

Governor Onaga said, “What the two governments did was maybe a change in the SOFA for the worse and not the better.”

Past related articles:
> Artifacts unearthed in Henoko designated as cultural assets [November 28, 2015]
> New bilateral pact on US bases in Japan is deceitful [September 30, 2015]
> Ginowan City mayor asks JCP for cooperation in opposition to U.S. Navy hospital construction [February 25, 2009]
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