Kanagawa governor proposes disaster-related agreement with US military, but Onaga concerned it could lead to base fortification

Kanagawa governor proposes disaster-related agreement with US military, but Onaga concerned it could lead to base fortification

Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa (right) and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga (left) present a written request to Ministry of Defense parliamentary official Takayuki Kobayashi on August 2 at the Ministry of Defense


August 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

(Tokyo) On August 2, the liaison council of governors primarily involved in public affairs, comprising the governors of the fifteen prefectures where U.S. military bases are located and chaired by Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa, held a regular general meeting at the prefectural meeting hall in Chiyoda Ward.

At the meeting, Governor Kuroiwa proposed that conditions for use of Japanese airports by the U.S. military during disasters should be incorporated into the Status of Forces Agreement.

Vice chair Governor Takeshi Onaga did not oppose the proposal, but expressed reservations, saying, “That could lead to the possibility of [U.S.] base functions being strengthened under the name of disaster prevention. I have some concerns.”

Kuroiwa proposed a “Special Agreement for Times of Disaster etc.

” Regarding the emergency use of airports and the like, he is also considering “investigating the possibility of introducing restrictions to prevent [the agreement] from leading to strengthening of base functions.

” He also indicated the necessity of advancing research regarding criminal trial procedures and further strengthening cooperation with the nationwide governors’ council.

There were no objections to his proposals, and going forward the council will discuss whether to incorporate these matters into a list of requests to the central government.

After the general meeting, the council adopted a written request and delivered it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the U.S. Embassy.

In light of the recent rape and murder of a woman by a U.S. military contractor, a “supplemental agreement” clarifying the scope of military associates who are subject to the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement was executed in January of this year.

The written request adopted by the council once more called for disclosure of the report from the U.S. side regarding revision of the criteria for application of the supplementary agreement.

In light of the fact that the U.S. Military Realignment Promotion Law, which stipulates realignment subsidies and the like, has been extended for another ten years, the list of requests newly included matters relating to new and expanded regional promotion measures.

Ministry of Defense parliamentary official Takayuki Kobayashi accepted the written request, stating, “We hope to respond to each of these requests sincerely and appropriately.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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