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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 April 28 - May 4  > Secret agreement on U.S. rights within bases in Japan revealed
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2010 April 28 - May 4 [US FORCES]

Secret agreement on U.S. rights within bases in Japan revealed

April 28, 2010
A secret agreement granting U.S. forces in Japan all “rights, power and authority” within bases in Japan was revealed. Niihara Shoji, a researcher of international affairs, reported on the agreement at a symposium held by the Japan Peace Committee on April 27.

Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Administrative Agreement under the former Japan-U.S. Security Treaty signed in 1952 states:

“The United States shall have the rights, power and authority within the facilities and areas which are necessary or appropriate for their establishment, use, operation, defense or control.”

The Administrative Agreement was replaced with the Status of Forces Agreement in line with the revision of the Security Treaty in 1960.

Article III, paragraph 1 of the SOFA reads: "Within the facilities and areas, the United States may take all the measures necessary for their establishment, operation, safeguarding and control." The phrase, “rights, power and authority” was deleted.

A declassified U.S. document obtained by Niihara, however, states that it was agreed that “GOJ (Government of Japan) is prepared to confirm in writing that US rights within facilities and areas remain unaltered under new language of Article III, paragraph 1 (of the SOFA).”

On January 6, 1960, Japanese Foreign Minister Fujiyama Aiichiro and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II initialed a confidential understanding that “United States rights within facilities and areas granted by the Government of Japan for the use of United States armed forces in Japan remain the same under the revised wording of Article III, paragraph 1 of the Agreement signed at Washington on January 19, 1960 as they were under the Agreement signed at Tokyo on February 28, 1952.”

The Japanese government at that time explained that the revision of the Administrative Agreement would give Japan more independent authority. However, the extraterritoriality status of the U.S. bases remained unchanged. The secret agreement clearly reveals the Japanese government’s subservience to the United States in regard to the military base issue.
- Akahata, April 28, 2010
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