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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 13 - 19  > Australia applies its domestic laws to US forces just like EU member nations do
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2019 November 13 - 19 [US FORCES]

Australia applies its domestic laws to US forces just like EU member nations do

November 13, 2019

An Okinawa Prefectural government’s survey report reveals that like EU allies, Australia, one of the major U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region, imposes domestic law on U.S. forces to prevent new pests and diseases from entering the country. This highlights the unfairness of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement which exempts the U.S. military from complying with Japanese laws.

The report was compiled based on the survey about the Australia-U.S. SOFA. Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny introduced the report at a meeting of the National Governors’ Association held on November 11 in Tokyo.

According to the Okinawa report, Australia requires U.S. forces stationed in the nation to comply with domestic law on quarantine set under the Biosecurity Act. The U.S. Marine Corps, which began rotational deployment to Australia in 2012, on its website posted a photo with the caption in which they stated that as required by the Aussie law, they conducted a complete breakdown and detailed cleaning of a CH53E Super Stallion helicopter and allowed inspections of the aircraft by the Australian authorities, which took nearly 20 days.

In contrast, the Japan-U.S. SOFA has no provision regarding quarantine. It is up to the U.S. military to comply with quarantine requirements.

The Okinawa report also points out that Australian airspace is entirely administered by the nation’s civil air safety regulator and that military reserved airspace is designated in accordance with a request from the Aussie defense authorities. This means that in Australia, there is no airspace controlled by a foreign military, like the U.S. military-controlled Yokota Rapcon airspace in Japan.

Furthermore, the Okinawa survey report states that in Darwin, which hosts the USMC base, flights of all military aircraft are strictly restricted and thus no military aircraft are allowed to fly over residential areas.

Past related articles:
> In EU member nations, domestic laws are applied to US forces stationed there: Okinawa study report [May 8, 2019]
> US military personnel in Japan enjoy ‘SOFA-protected’ driving privileges [December 1, 2018]

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