News / Asia

Japan Wants More Say Over US Troops on Okinawa

People form a 'human chain' around U.S. Futenma airbase on the Japanese island of Okinawa during an earlier protest against US troops there on May 16, 2010.
People form a 'human chain' around U.S. Futenma airbase on the Japanese island of Okinawa during an earlier protest against US troops there on May 16, 2010.

Japan's foreign minister is promising Okinawans that Tokyo will press Washington to give Japanese authorities more jurisdiction over U.S. forces on the island. The pledge comes as the United States and Japan are trying to reach a compromise over a controversial relocation of an American air station on the southern Japanese island.

The visit to Okinawa by foreign minister Koichiro Gemba is seen as an attempt to assuage continuing resentment by the islanders towards both Tokyo and Washington about the burden imposed on Okinawa of hosting the U.S. military.

Gemba met with Okinawa's governor just days after the U.S. military conditionally agreed to give Japan increased criminal jurisdiction over American civilian workers at U.S. bases.

The foreign minister said he will continue to do all he possibly can to persuade the United States to make more operational changes to the Status of Forces Agreement, known as SOFA.

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima told Gemba on Saturday he is grateful for Tokyo's effort towards further modifications of the agreement, which gives the U.S. military initial jurisdiction over its personnel, both soldiers and civilians, who are accused of criminal
acts in Japan.

The governor says there is a strong desire among the people of Okinawa for a drastic review of the agreement.

Crimes committed by U.S. military personnel in Japan have repeatedly caused public outrage, compounded by delayed handovers of suspects to Japanese authorities or when those convicted receive punishments perceived as lenient.

Public prosecutors on Okinawa on Friday indicted an American working ona base on the island for a January traffic accident that resulted in the death of a 19-year-old Japanese motorist. U.S. authorities had punished the employee of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), which is an agency of the U.S. Defense Department, by suspending his driver's license for a five-year period.

The Yomiuri, the top circulating newspaper in Japan, on Saturday quoted "sources close to the Foreign Ministry" saying American officials agreed to modifying how SOFA is implemented because Washington worries the issue could have political ramifications for other important issues. Those include the planned relocation of the U.S. Futenma Marine Air Station on Okinawa.

Tokyo and Washington since 2005 have planned to move the facility to the coastal tourist town of Nago. It is currently located in the middle of the city of Ginowan, which has been built up over the years around the busy military facility.

Despite the current noise and congestion in Ginowan, anti-base groups, backed by some local politicians, oppose just moving the base to another part of the island. They want the facility moved completely from Okinawa to another part of Japan.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid