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Kanagawa governor to submit proposals on cooperation with U.S. bases

Governor Yuji Kuroiwa announced on Feb. 15 that he plans to submit to the general meeting of the association of base-hosting governors this summer Kanagawa Prefecture’s proposals on clarifying the relationship between the U.S. bases and the hosting local governments, modeled after the supplementary environmental agreement pertaining to environmental issues not covered by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). This was in response to the representative interpellation by the Democratic Party’s Kotoku Takita (elected from Nakahara Ward, Kawasaki City) at the prefectural assembly’s plenary session.

 

Kuroiwa explained that the proposals “will be based on the idea of cooperation between the bases and the local residents” in disasters and other situations. He will lobby the national government on the accord after obtaining the approval of the governors’ association.

 

Kuroiwa stated after the assembly session, “This is separate from the issue of revising the SOFA. We are aiming at an additional agreement like the supplementary environmental agreement.” He said he would like to “adopt the same procedures” by which proposals drafted by Kanagawa eventually led to the conclusion of the supplementary agreement.

 

Although the SOFA has not been revised since 1960, the supplementary environmental agreement that came into effect in September 2015 has provisions allowing local government officials to conduct on-site inspections on U.S. bases, among other things.

 

Kuroiwa had stated at the prefectural assembly plenary session in February 2016 that he intended to “submit proposals for building a new relationship between U.S. Forces Japan and the local communities” modeled after the supplementary agreement and “lobby for them with the national government through the governors’ association.”

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