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SECURITY > Okinawa

Abe dismisses need for SOFA review in Diet interpellation

Okinawa Times wrote that Japanese Communist Party Chairman Shii argued during Diet interpellation on Tuesday that the Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. should be drastically reviewed because it stands in the way of Japanese authorities’ onsite investigations into accidents involving the U.S. military. Prime Minister Abe responded by saying that the Japanese authorities conducted onsite investigations following the incident last month in which a CH-53 helicopter made a crash landing and burst into flames in Higashi Village, Okinawa. He explained that officials of the Defense Ministry, the prefectural police, and the prefectural government entered the site of the accident and confirmed that the level of radiation detected there was normal. Concerning the incident last December in which an MV-22 Osprey made a crash landing in waters off Nago, the premier said that the Japanese Coast Guard carried out the necessary investigations. The paper asserted, however, that Japanese authorities could not conduct sufficient investigations due to restrictions imposed by the U.S. side on Japanese access to the accident sites.

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