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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
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.
AppleAndroid