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Kishida rebuffs call for SOFA revision

Ryukyu Shimpo reported on remarks made at the Diet on Wednesday by Prime Minister Kishida in which he dismissed the opposition camp’s call for amending the SOFA. During interpellation at a plenary session of the Lower House, CDPJ President Izumi urged the administration to launch discussions with the U.S. government on reviewing the statute governing USFJ personnel in connection with the initial failure on the part of the U.S. military to implement COVID-19 prevention protocols in sync with those of Japan. “I want the prime minister to explain the reasons why the administration has chosen not to seek the same level of authority accorded to a host nation as U.S. allies in Europe, such as Germany and Italy,” the opposition leader said. In reply, the premier said: “We have no plans to conduct a review of the SOFA…. It is not appropriate to make simple comparisons between Japan’s and other nations’ status of forces agreements. It is necessary to take into account the overall picture, such as how each SOFA is being administered and the security environment.”

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