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Inamine calls for SOFA changes in aftermath of military incidents

Date Posted: 2006-01-12

Keiichi Inamine is again calling for changes to the Status of Forces Agreement after fresh violence in Yokusuka and Okinawa.

No sooner had the Okinawa governor lashed out at the military for the murder of a Yokusuka woman by a sailor, than word came of a robbery assault on a base here. “It is really contemptible crime that we’ll never forgive,” Inamine said of the sailor changed with killing the 56-year-old woman in Yokusuka. “I really feel sorry for the victim and her family,” he noted. “We are really sick of the American base accidents or scandals. It’s like everyday now.”

Inamine said he was really shocked, and feeling great indignation at the murder in Yokusuka, and issued a new demand that the Japan and American Status of Forces Agreement “be really reformed.” He wants to see suspects immediately handed over to Japanese authorities, saying Japanese need to understand the investigations and do have the rights to interrogate.

No sooner had Inamine calmed from the Yokusuka incident, when word came of a weekend incident on Camp Foster, when a taxi driver was threatened at knifepoint and robbed. Authorities say the on-base incident occurred after a taxi was dispatched to a barracks at 1:20am Saturday.

Arriving at the barracks, the taxi driver was accosted by a lone male, who approached the car and opened the driver’s door and pointed a knife at him and demanded “give me money.” As the driver searched his pockets for money, the robber grabbed the man and reached into his pockets as well. The robber found money, and also the driver’s ID card, which he tossed to the ground. Authorities say the taxi driver gave his money box to the robber, who ran away.

Police say the driver didn’t see the robber’s face, but said he was a young black man, 175cm tall, wearing a jumper with a hooded jacket over his head.

“Since last year, taxi robbers or some kind of mmurder scandals have been increasing here,” the Prefecture Taxi Society chairman says. “Please, we cannot do business with this kind of situation.” He’s demanding the Prefecture allow such a robbery to happen again.

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