Tokyo and Washington agreed to limit eligibility for protection by the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement on July 5. Bilateral negotiations have been going on in response to Okinawa’s strong demand that SOFA be revised across the board.

But the new measure will only limit legal protections and benefits to U.S. civilian employees working at bases in Japan. U.S. military personnel who commit crimes off base continue to be protected by SOFA the same as before. It seems how to “protect” its military personnel from arbitrary prosecution under Japan’s “outdated” legal system is more important to Washington than victims’ agony and trampled human rights.

Yoshio Shimoji

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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