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Inamine to continue demand radical revision of SOFA

Date Posted: 2003-08-08

Japan will continue to ask American authorities to surrender U.S. military personnel before indictment, despite failure of talks on the issue between the U.S. and Japan. Administrative Vice Foreign Minister, Yukio Takeuchi, meeting media at a Tokyo press conference, said he’s concerned about procedures on how criminal investigations involving SOFA personnel are conducted, and said he would continue seeking the handover of Americans suspected of crimes. “Failing to reach conclusion at the talks does not mean the discarding of the 1995 Japan-US SOFA agreement,” Takeuchi said.

Okinawa Governor Keichi Inamine, meanwhile, says he will continue his push for the radical reform of SOFA. Commenting on the failed negotiations, Inamine said, "Okinawa Prefecture Government is seeking the revision of SOFA, not the improvement of its enforcement. We'll continue to strongly request that.”

He said “The SOFA problems are the problem for all the people in this country. To obtain the understanding of the people in prefectures that host military bases, I will continue my nationwide campaign to proactively address the issue.”

Inamine is scheduled to visit Yamaguchi and Hiroshima Prefectures to meet the governors and the speakers of the assemblies of those prefectures to request their help in his efforts towards the revision of the SOFA including adoption of his opinions on necessary changes in the SOFA.

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