Shii criticizes both Japanese and US leaders for skirting around SOFA

May 27, 2016

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on May 26 criticized both Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and U.S. President Barack Obama for not demanding a review of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and for not offering any apology for the recent rape and murder of a Japanese woman by a former U.S. marine.

At a press conference in the Diet building, Shii brought up the fact that Abe only stated “strong protest” and need for “prevention of crimes” following the incident during a Japan-U.S. Summit meeting held on the previous day. “Abe spoke not a word on the removal of U.S. bases from Okinawa as many Okinawans hoped for, and he did not even touch upon a SOFA review as a minimum request,” Shii pointed out.

As for President Obama, Shii said, “He expressed ‘regret’ over the killing of an Okinawan woman but uttered no words of apology. He denied the need for revisions to the SOFA.”

Shii said, “The SOFA gives the U.S. military in Japan many special privileges such as extraterritorial rights, including the primary right of jurisdiction in crimes committed by U.S. personnel and U.S. civilian employees on duty. This has led to the cultivating of breeding grounds for their never-ending crimes.”

He added, “Amendments to such a humiliating agreement is what people all over Okinawa have long been demanding.” “So, it is unacceptable for the two leaders to totally ignore the Okinawans’ ardent expectations,” said Shii.

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