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Okinawa unsure about proposed change in guidelines on aircraft mishaps involving U.S. military

  • July 10, 2019
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times highlighted press remarks made on Tuesday by Defense Minister Iwaya regarding the proposed revision of the bilateral guidelines for responding to U.S. military aircraft accidents off base. The minister reportedly projected that “in the not too distant future” an agreement can be reached with the U.S. military to allow Japanese police and firefighters quicker access to the scenes of accidents. However, the articles expressed skepticism about whether the revision will enable the local authorities to conduct substantive investigations of their own without delay since under the SOFA the Japanese side cannot undertake probes without permission from the U.S. military. In voicing their doubts, the two dailies highlighted remarks made to the press on the same day by Foreign Minister Kono, whose words were interpreted as effectively dismissing the need for revision. He was quoted as saying: “At present, necessary investigations [by the Japanese authorities] are conducted without fail.”  

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