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Okinawa leader calls robbery allegedly involving SOFA members “heinous crime”

  • May 19, 2020
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times took up a comment made on Monday by Governor Tamaki concerning the recent robbery in Chatan that was allegedly perpetrated by two SOFA members at Kadena Air Base, who are currently under arrest on the installation. He was quoted as saying: “I think it was a heinous crime. I will file a stern protest with U.S. military authorities.” Okinawa Times wrote that the governor is expected to decide when and with whom to lodge a protest while taking into account the progress of local and U.S. military police investigations, adding that the prefectural police are unlikely to seek the transfer of the suspects prior to indictment based on the assessment that the case is not a heinous crime as defined under the SOFA.


In a separate piece, Okinawa Times wrote that many local detectives have built close relations with U.S. military police in recent years when investigating offenses involving SOFA personnel, noting that the U.S. side has often been responsive to local police requests for cooperation. On the latest robbery case, an unnamed senior prefectural police official reportedly said “there will be no problem with pressing charges” even without the suspects in Japanese custody. However, the daily voiced doubts about the Okinawa police’s “prioritization of smooth investigations over national sovereignty.” 

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