Governors of prefectures hosting U.S. military bases urged the Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday to revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.
Forming a liaison group of 14 governors whose prefectures host U.S. bases, they made the call during a meeting at LDP headquarters with an intraparty group aiming to secure a true Japan-U.S. partnership through a revised agreement.
Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine told the meeting he cannot accept that under the current agreement, the U.S. military is not required to hand over suspects to Japanese authorities before being indicted for a crime.
Okinawa accounts for only 0.6 percent of Japan’s territory but hosts about 75 percent of the land used by U.S. forces in Japan.
Inamine said the national government will have no recourse but to try to revise the agreement if there is public and political support, according to the participants.
Kanagawa Gov. Hiroshi Okazaki, commenting on the national government’s plan to work on improving implementation of SOFA instead of revising it, said the U.S. will still have the discretion to determine action.
His prefecture hosts a major naval base in Yokosuka and the Atsugi air base for carrier aircraft.
Aomori Gov. Morio Kimura urged creation of a consultative body between local governments and the U.S. military, which shares a fighter base in Aomori with the Air Self-Defense Force.
The participants said the LDP panel is expected to draft revisions to the pact.
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