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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid