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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid