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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 9 - 15  > Okinawans in Tokyo demand drastic review of Japan-U.S. Status of U.S. Forces Agreement
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2008 April 9 - 15 [US FORCES]

Okinawans in Tokyo demand drastic review of Japan-U.S. Status of U.S. Forces Agreement

April 15, 2008
A group of representatives of the organizing committee of the March 23 Okinawan Rally in Protest against U.S. Servicemen’s Crimes on April 14 made representations to the Japanese government and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, delivering a copy of the resolution adopted at the rally.

The group consisted of 65 people, including local government heads and representatives of Okinawa’s various local organizations.

The resolution calls for a drastic review of the Japan-U.S. Status of U.S. Forces Agreement (SOFA), eradication of human rights violations by the U.S. military, and the reduction and consolidation of U.S. bases and reduction of U.S. troops, including U.S. Marines.

After the representations, Tamayose Tetsuei, head of the Okinawa Prefectural Liaison Council for Development of Kodomo-kai (children's association), said, “Immediately after the Aegis-equipped vessel of the Maritime Self-Defense Force hit and sank a small fishing boat, Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo visited and apologized to the families of the missing fishers. Why doesn’t he visit Okinawa and apologize to Okinawans who have been forced to endure the painful burdens of U.S. military bases?”

Raymond Green, the Army Attache of the U.S. Embassy, told the petitioners that the U.S. government was not considering reviewing the Japan-U.S. Status of U.S. Forces Agreement and that recent serious crimes were committed in Okinawa by only a small part of the U.S. military in Okinawa.

According to the Okinawan group, he also said that the world is in uncertainty and that the U.S. forces will not leave Okinawa.

400 people in a rally side with Okinawan petitioners

On the same day about 400 people, including lawmakers from the Japanese Communist, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties, held a rally in Tokyo at the call of the organizing committee of the March 23 Okinawa rally.

Kowatari Haruko, Okinawa Prefecture Women's Association head, said, “For 63 years, Okinawan women’s human rights have been trampled upon by the U.S. military.

Okinawa City Mayor Tomon Mitsuko stressed, “Okinawans can no longer endure the continuation of such atrocities. Let’s make our protests heard by the Japanese and U.S. governments.”

JCP member of the House of Representatives Kokuta Keiji stated, “Let’s join forces to get U.S. bases in Okinawa dismantled and the SOFA reviewed.”

Participants adopted a unanimous resolution supporting the Okinawa rally’s four-point appeal, including the call for the SOFA’s review.
- Akahata, April 15, 2008
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