One of the great secret ironies behind Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's April 28 ceremony celebrating "Restoration of Sovereignty Day," the anniversary of the formal end of the Allied Occupation in 1952, might be that (whispering) it was all an illusion.

Similarly, the PM's dogged focus on amending the American-tainted Constitution to bolster his nationalist credentials might reflect an uncomfortable unspoken truth — that it may be easier to change the Constitution than revise another document of potentially greater importance: the Status of Forces Agreement between Japan and the United States, which governs the legal status of the U.S. military presence in Japan.

The possibility that the SOFA might be superior to Japan's Constitution is the theme of a new book edited by Hiromori Maedomari, a professor at Okinawa International University and former chief editorial writer for the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper. Its title is "Honto wa Kenpo yori Taisetsu na Nichibei Chii Kyotei Nyumon" — roughly translated, "An Introduction to The U.S.-Japan SOFA, which is actually more important than the Constitution."