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Gov. Inamine requests support for revision of SOFA

Date Posted: 2003-06-22

Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine met with Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara on Friday to request Ishihara's support for a drive to revise the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). At the meeting, Ishihara promised he would support Inamine's efforts. "The SOFA has not been revised since it was concluded fifty years ago. It does not sound right that any agreement could stay unchanged for such a long period of time while everything else changes. We have to direct our best efforts towards the revision and show that Japan is determined to stand its ground," Ishihara stated.

In the past, Ishihara has demanded either the return of the Yokota Air Base that is located within Tokyo, or converting the base to the dual use of the U.S. military and the civilian sector.

At the meeting, Governor Inamine indicated that there are various problems in the current SOFA such as the local citizens' rights and many environmental aspects that need to be corrected.

Ishihara said "Because of the US-Japan Security Treaty, the U.S. cannot develop their international strategy in Asia without its bases in Japan. In other words, the U.S. owes us a great favor. From this aspect, I would like to think that the U.S. needs to pay considerable consideration to Japan's wishes."

After the meeting, Inamine said that Ishihara's views and opinions on the matter were "very encouraging." Inamine also had a discussion on the matter with Tokyo Assembly Speaker Toshiya Mita. Inamine asked the Tokyo Assembly to adopt a resolution and draft an opinion letter on the proposed review. In his reply, Mita said that he would work towards creating the resolution and letter.

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