Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 04/03/08

DE RUEHKO #0913/01 0940820
P 030820Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer issues a statement of
"heartfelt and deep condolences" in connection with the murder of a
taxi driver in Yokosuka (Sankei)

(2) 22-year old U.S. sailor arrested on charge of robbery and murder
of taxi driver (Yomiuri)

(3) Jijikokkoku (ever-changing scene) column - Murder of taxi driver
in Yokosuka (Part 1): Alliance slows investigation of U.S. sailor

(4) Jijikokkoku (ever-changing scene) column - Murder of taxi driver
in Yokosuka (Part 2): U.S. military working in close cooperation
with local community especially ahead of planned deployment of
nuclear aircraft career (Asahi)

(5) Jijikokkoku (ever-changing scene) column - Murder of taxi driver
in Yokosuka (Part 3- conclusion): Cause of conflict still remains
with no end of crimes (Asahi)

(6) Editorial: It's taking too long to arrest U.S. sailor (Tokyo

(7) Arrest of sailor for cab-driver murder: Local residents near
Yokosuka base feel betrayed by U.S. military that appealed for
coexistence (Nikkei)

(8) Arrest of U.S. sailor: Repeated tragedies show ineffectiveness
of measures to prevent incidents from recurring (Tokyo Shimbun)

(9) U.S. to pay for utility fees temporarily following expiration of
sympathy budget (Yomiuri)

(10) Zenchuro criticizes DPJ's response (Yomiuri)

(11) Gov't should make constructive proposal for SOFA revisions to
build healthy alliance with U.S. (Mainichi)

(12) Editorial: DPJ weakening Japan-U.S. alliance (Sankei)


(1) U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer issues a statement of
"heartfelt and deep condolences" in connection with the murder of a
taxi driver in Yokosuka

April 3, 2008

In connection with the case of Mr. Masaaki Takahashi, a taxi driver
slain in Yokosuka City in Kanagawa Prefecture, U.S. Ambassador to
Japan Schieffer issued a statement that went: "My heartfelt and deep
condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Masaaki
Takahashi." The complete text of the statement follows:

"My heartfelt and deep condolences go out to the family and friends
of Mr. Masaaki Takahashi. His brutal murder is a shock and outrage
to all those who believe in a civilized society. Mr. Takahashi was
only trying to do his job. His murder is a great tragedy for
law-abiding citizens everywhere. The Embassy of the United States is

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closely following the investigation and will cooperate in any way
possible with Japanese authorities so that the murderer of Mr.
Takahashi can be brought to justice."

Ambassador Schieffer this afternoon will meet with Foreign Minister
Masahiko Koumura, and then accompanied by U.S. Navy Commander Adm.
Kelly, visit the Yokosuka City Hall, where the two will meet the
mayor and formally apologize for the incident.

(2) 22-year old U.S. sailor arrested on charge of robbery and murder
of taxi driver

April 3, 2008

Kanagawa prefectural police today arrested seaman apprentice
Olatunbosun Ugbogu (22), a Nigerian who is stationed at Yokosuka
Naval Base, for the murder in Yokosuka City of Masaaki Takahashi
(then 61), a taxi driver from Shinagawa-ku in Tokyo. Since Ugbogu
was in the custody of U.S. forces on the crime of desertion, the
Japanese government asked for the turning over of the suspect prior
to indictment. The handing over was done the same day, since the
agreement of the U.S. side had been obtained.

(3) Jijikokkoku (ever-changing scene) column - Murder of taxi driver
in Yokosuka (Part 1): Alliance slows investigation of U.S. sailor

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 3, 2008

The investigation by Kanagawa police into the murder of a taxi
driver in Yokosuka City finally made some progress yesterday with
the cooperation of the United States military, which had taken the
suspect into custody. Although the U.S. forces, which plans to
deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (at Yokosuka), were
cooperative, the police were unable to question the suspect
immediately after he surfaced as a potential witness. For the
police, the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) continues
to stand as a wall in the way of their investigation.

Japanese police had to wait for the suspect to confess to U.S.

The Kanagawa prefectural police asked the U.S. military to allow the
police to question the seaman on the night of April 1, half a day
before actually questioning the seaman.

It was just after the sailor admitted to his involvement in slaying
a taxi driver during the questioning by the U.S. Naval Criminal
Investigative Service (NCIS), and 10 days after the NCIS took him
into custody.

The incident occurred on the night of March 19. The name of the
sailor immediately came up because he had left his credit card in
the cab. Immediately after the incident occurred, the U.S. Navy told
the Yokohama city government that the seaman might have been
involved in the murder.

The sailor deserted from Yokosuka Naval Base on March 8. After the
murder of the taxi driver, the prefectural police searched for his
whereabouts as a potential suspect, while NCIS likewise searched for
him as a deserter.

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Minutes before 4:00 a.m. of March 22, a cell phone of an official at
the Yokosuka city government's Base Measures Department rang. The
information that the deserter has now been taken into custody came
from a hot line through the cell phone. The caller was a U.S. Navy
officer in charge. The call came a mere 10 minutes after (the U.S.
Navy) had detained the serviceman.

After taking the seaman into custody, the U.S. Navy conveyed to the
prefectural police every detail of the results of the questioning of
the deserter as to what he was doing after deserting from the base
and whether he was involved in the killing. Receiving such materials
from the NCIS as fingerprints of the seaman and the mucous membrane
of his mouth to be used for DNA analysis, the police were engaged in
examining them.

But the police investigation did not progress as they had expected.
No fingerprints of the seaman were detected on the credit card left
in the taxi or on the handle of the kitchen knife used in the
slaying. The police lacked evidence that the seaman had been
involved in the murder.

A senior police investigator noted: "It would be of great help on
our part if the sailor confessed to the NCIS."

The police made efforts to analyze security videotapes installed in
areas around JR Shinagawa Station, where the driver picked up the
last passenger, and records of the cell phone in order to gain
evidence, while keeping a close tab on how the NCIS' questioning of
the serviceman would progress. Meanwhile, the police were carefully
looking for the right timing for them to begin questioning the

During the questioning by the NCIS, the sailor admitted to his
involvement in the killing. This helped the police investigation to
move forward significantly. Following the NCIS's questioning, the
police's questioning of the sailor began yesterday. In it, the
sailor admitted to his involvement in the killing.

(4) Jijikokkoku (ever-changing scene) column - Murder of taxi driver
in Yokosuka (Part 2): U.S. military working in close cooperation
with local community especially ahead of planned deployment of
nuclear aircraft career

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 3, 2008

The United States military is working in close cooperation with
Yokosuka City and the Kanagawa prefectural police on the murder
case. The reason is presumably connected to the U.S. plan to deploy
the USS George Washington to Yokosuka Navy Base in August.
Meanwhile, however, deep-seated apprehensions about the safety of
this nuclear submarine and persistent objections to its deployment
exist in the local community.

The U.S. Navy has deployed aircraft carriers to Yokosuka since 1973.
The carrier has been the cornerstone of the U.S. military's strategy
in the West Pacific. The U.S. Navy wants to minimize local
objections to the deployment of the nuclear carrier so that the ship
will arrive at Yokosuka smoothly. Meanwhile, Yokosuka City thinks
cooperation with the U.S. Navy is essential in order to build a
system of safety measures that can convince citizens who are

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concerned about a possible radioactive accident. Both sides have
shared the same position since Yokosuka Mayor Ryouichi Kabaya gave
the green light to the plan to deploying the carrier to Yokosuka in
June 2006.

The city government and the U.S. Navy have since then frequently
held talks with the Japanese government to discuss how to prepare
for or prevent a disaster. Aside from this meeting, the mayor,
relevant city government officials, and senior U.S. Navy officers
have met once a month on a regular basis in an effort to share
information. The regular meetings have allowed both sides to become
acquainted with each other. At one of the meetings, a hot line
(between the city government and the U.S. Navy Yokosuka Base) was

"The U.S. military and the Yokosuka city government have built close
relations on a level not seen in any other place across the country
in an effort to reduce incidents and accidents," a city government
official in charge said.

Meanwhile, a civic group is collecting signatures with the aim of
bringing about a referendum on the propriety of deploying the USS
George Washington. A leading player in this campaign is lawyer
Masahiko Goto. Goto pointed out: "No matter how much the city and
the U.S. Navy may highlight safety measures based on their friendly
ties, it is impossible for such measures to have a deterrent effect
on accidents or crimes as long as there is a lack of tension."

(5) Jijikokkoku (ever-changing scene) column - Murder of taxi driver
in Yokosuka (Part 3- conclusion): Cause of conflict still remains
with no end of crimes

ASAHI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
April 3, 2008

The U.S. side's response to the latest murder case caused by a U.S.
serviceman seems to be reflecting its sense of crisis that a recent
series of crimes committed by U.S. military personnel could rock the
very foundation of the bilateral relationship. This past February, a
U.S. Marine was arrested on charge of raping a (junior high school)
girl. Prime Minister Fukuda called on the U.S. to take action to
prevent a recurrence of a similar incident. Just after U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and other officials repeatedly

offered apologies in response to Fukuda's call, the murder of a taxi
driver in Yokosuka City occurred. The killer was a U.S. sailor.

After the rape of an elementary school girl in Okinawa by U.S.
military personnel in 1995 the U.S. side began handing over U.S.
military suspects to Japanese police authorities before indictment.

In the murder case this time, the U.S. side informally contacted the
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of Defense
(MOF) the day after the occurrence of the incident and told them: "A
U.S. deserter is suspected of being involved in the case." Rear Adm.
James Kelly, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in Japan, told a
news conference on March 23: "The Japanese police are investigating
the case. We promise full cooperation with the investigation."
According to a source familiar with bilateral relations, once an
arrest warrant is issued, (the U.S. side) aims to smoothly hand the
suspect over to (the Japanese side) by holding a meeting of the
Joint Committee, (which consists of MOFA's North American Affairs
Bureau director-general, the vice commander of the U.S. Forces Japan

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(USFJ), and others) and which is usually held once every two weeks,
in order to obtain approval from each committee component.

However, the handover of the suspects to the Japanese side is
treated as something stemming from the U.S. side willingness to
extend "sympathetic consideration" to Japan under a bilateral
agreement. This kind of handover is not mentioned in the Japan-U.S.
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which stipulates the rights and
duties of USFJ.

Those who are subject to such transfers are limited to suspects of
heinous crimes. Since 1995, Japan has called on the U.S. to hand
criminals over in five cases, but of these, four cases were actually
transferred to the Japanese side. In 2004, the scope of crimes
subject to handover was broadened, and at the same time, it was
decided that U.S. military officers are required to be present at
interrogations because the U.S. was highly concerned about the human
rights of the suspect. In the case of a U.S. military helicopter
crash into the campus of Okinawa International University in 2004,
the U.S. side recovered the helicopter at the crash site before the
Okinawa prefectural police conducted an on- site investigation.

This has led to local municipalities housing U.S. military bases to
strongly call for revising the SOFA so that Japanese authorities can
strengthen their right to investigate when incidents or accidents
take place. But Prime Minister Fukuda told a session yesterday of
the Lower House Committee on Foreign Affairs: "I want to deal with
each case by improving the operation of SOFA" as before. This remark
came because the U.S. side is not expected to respond to calls to
review the SOFA. Cause of conflict will accordingly remain in the
future, as well, as long as both countries cannot fully deter crimes
committed by or accidents caused by U.S. military personnel.

(6) Editorial: It's taking too long to arrest U.S. sailor

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
April 3, 2008

In questioning by Kanagawa prefectural police, a U.S. sailor has
reportedly admitted to killing a taxi driver in Yokosuka, Kanagawa
Prefecture. But he is still in the custody of the U.S. Navy under
the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. It is taking too long to
arrest him.

The incident occurred on the night of March 19. A taxi driver was
murdered in his car near U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base, stabbed in the
neck with a kitchen knife. Three days later, the U.S. military took
into custody a 22-year-old U.S. seaman (itto suihei) of Nigerian
nationality on a charge of desertion.

The prefectural police managed to question the U.S. sailor 12 days
later, on April 2. The seaman has been in the custody of the U.S.
military and is being investigated on charges of desertion. Was the
U.S. military able to prevent the destruction of evidence related to
the murder investigation and to prevent people connected with the
case from coordinating their stories? We are highly concerned.

A credit card bearing the name of the sailor was found immediately
after the incident. Given such "material evidence," the prefectural
police should have been able to ask the U.S. military to let them
question the seaman much earlier.

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Seeking an arrest warrant for the U.S. sailor, the prefectural
police will ask the U.S. military to hand him over. The Japan-U.S.
Status of Forces Agreement stipulates in principle that the U.S.
military has custody of U.S. service members who have committed
crimes until they are indicted.

In 1995, a schoolgirl was raped by three U.S. Marines in Okinawa,
resulting in an outcry in the prefecture. In consideration of this
case, the U.S. agreed to give "sympathetic consideration" to
Japanese requests for the pre-indictment handover of U.S. service
members who are suspected of having committed a heinous crime. This
also led to an agreement to improve the operation of (the SOFA).

This time around, the U.S. military has indicated that it will
extend "full cooperation." While the U.S. sailor is expected to be
handed over to the Japanese authorities, there has been a ceaseless
string of atrocious crimes by U.S. service members.

In February this year, a U.S. Marine was arrested in Okinawa for
allegedly sexually assaulting a middle school girl. In 2006, a U.S.
sailor robbed and killed a Yokosuka woman, and in 2007, U.S. Marines
based at Iwakuni Air Station, Yamaguchi Prefecture, allegedly
gang-raped a woman in Hiroshima.

It can be said that residents of not only Okinawa but also of
base-hosting municipalities across Japan are beginning to feel fear
toward U.S. service members.

There are fundamental problems with the quality of U.S. service
members and their management, and little can be expected from the
U.S. military's vow to "strictly enforce discipline." Given that
there have been no specific preventive measures, the principle of
limiting (the application of) domestic law must be modified.

U.S. service members who commit atrocious crimes must be detained at
Japanese facilities and be questioned first by Japanese police.

The time has come for the Japanese government to press the U.S. side
for a review of the SOFA.

(7) Arrest of sailor for cab-driver murder: Local residents near
Yokosuka base feel betrayed by U.S. military that appealed for

April 3, 2008\

Kanagawa police today issued an arrest warrant for a U.S. sailor,
who has admitted he killed a taxi driver in the city of Yokosuka.
From the local residents and shopkeepers of the "base town" who had
deepened their exchanges with the U.S. military that had appealed
for coexistence came voices of disappointment at the betrayal, with
one local resident saying, "I am saddened by this incident that has
case a shadow over my trust (in the U.S. military)." A male
shopkeeper (62) who owns a general store only dozens of meters from
the Yokosuka U.S. Navy Base, where the sailor was stationed, lowered
his voice and said, "We will not be able to avoid the damage done to
the image of our downtown area."

The shopkeeper has lived in Yokosuka for dozens of years. There is
not a day that goes by when he does not see sailors on his street.
He has many American friends. He said: "There are many good sailors.

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It is sad that a few brutes have cast a pall on the relationship of
trust between the base and the local residents."

(8) Arrest of U.S. sailor: Repeated tragedies show ineffectiveness
of measures to prevent incidents from recurring

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 11) (Excerpt)
Eve., April 3, 2008

In the case of the murder of a taxi driver in Yokosuka City in
Kanagawa Prefecture, a 22-year old seaman's apprentice stationed at
Yokosuka Naval Base will be arrested and charged with the robbery
and murder, but only two years ago, there was a case of robbery and
murder by a sailor at the same base. Based on that incident,
measures to prevent a recurrence were taken, such as restricting
alcoholic drinking by servicemen, guidance and education to obey the
law, and the strengthening of patrols in areas near the base.
However, even after all that, crimes by sailor continued to occur,
the lesson apparently not having been learned, with irretrievable
losses and tragedies happening repeatedly.

(9) U.S. to pay for utility fees temporarily following expiration of
sympathy budget

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
April 3, 2008

An extension of the Japan-U.S. Special Measures Agreement on Japan's
host-nation support (sympathy budget) for the costs of stationing
U.S. forces in Japan was adopted by the House of Representatives
Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday with a majority vote by the
ruling parties. The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan
opposed the agreement for the first time. A delay in deliberations
due to turmoil over the appointment of a new Bank of Japan governor
and the provisional gasoline tax rate has created a vacuum period in
the agreement, making it impossible to implement the budget beyond
its March 31 expiry. Although a new agreement is likely to win Diet
approval later this month, some are concerned that the matter might
take a toll on the Japan-U.S. alliance gradually, like a body blow.

Japan's HNS covers: (1) base salaries of Japanese employees at U.S.
bases, (2) U.S. military housing utility fees, and (3) relocation
costs of fighter jet landing practice and firing practice.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the salaries of Japanese
employees are paid on the 10th of the following month. The
government plans to pay 8 billion yen in salaries for April on May
9. To do so, the new special agreement must take effect by late
April. If it slips to May, the U.S. side would be forced to shoulder
the Japanese employees' salaries temporarily.

The DPJ has indicated that it would deal with the matter in a way
not to inconvenience the base employees.

If the new agreement clears the Lower House today and is sent to the
House of Councillors and voted down by the opposition parties, it
still can go into effect within April, provided that the lower
chamber's decision takes precedence over the upper chamber's on an
agreement that is handled in the same way as a treaty. "We will
probably be able to avoid a situation where the U.S. side has to pay
for the Japanese employees," a senior Foreign Ministry official

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At the same time, the U.S. side plans to pay for utilities fees in
April in place of Japan. The U.S. side also plans to prevent any
expenses from incurring by postponing the planned relocation of
fighter jet training from Kadena Air Base to May or later.

(10) Zenchuro criticizes DPJ's response

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Abridged slightly)
April 3, 2008

The shadow cabinet of the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) decided yesterday to oppose the government's plan to revise
the Japan-U.S. special measures agreement on Japan's host-nation
support (sympathy budget) for the costs of stationing U.S. forces in
Japan. The DPJ supported its revision in 2000 (for fiscal 2001-2005
period) and in 2006 (for fiscal 2006-2007 period), taking a position
of placing high priority on the Japan-U.S. alliance.

DPJ Policy Research Council Chairman Masayuki Naoshima told a press

"We will oppose it, bearing in mind that the axis of Japan's
diplomacy is its bilateral relationship with the United States. We
called for the examination and reduction of expenses in 2000 and
2006, but nothing has changed. Utility fees are high and U.S.
military housing is costly because discretionary contracts (and not
competitive bidding) are used. Given the government's severe fiscal
situation, all expenses must be reviewed."

Attention was also focused on the response of DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa, who has been calling for a Japan-U.S. alliance based on
equality. Although Ozawa did not attend the shadow cabinet meeting
yesterday, he showed up at its previous meeting on March 26, in
which he said: "I would like you to give thought to the historical
background of the sympathy budget, as well." In 1978, then Defense
Agency Director-General Shin Kanemaru, who was Ozawa's mentor, had
the government pay part of labor costs for the Japanese employees
working at U.S. bases, calling it a "sympathy budget." There was an
observation in the DPJ that Ozawa wanted to support the original

In an attempt to check Ozawa's true intention, Naoshima called on
him at party headquarters on April 1 and told him that the party was
largely leaning toward opposing the new agreement. In response,
Ozawa easily concurred, saying, "I will leave the entire matter up
to you."

A senior DPJ member noted:

"Mr. Ozawa decided to scrap the road-use revenue system, which was
established by the late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, his teacher.
Mr. Ozawa also opposed the sympathy budget, which was initiated by
Mr. Kanemaru. Those steps reflect Mr. Ozawa's determination to break
away from the political approach of the LDP era and to pursue

At the same time, some fear that the DPJ might come across as an
anti-U.S. party. The DPJ is also being criticized by ruling party
members for using the matter to force the prime minister into
dissolving the Lower House.

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Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said last night to reporters, "What is
(the DPJ's) view of the Japan-U.S. alliance?"

One DPJ member said: "I cannot oppose the sympathy budget. I want to
consider abstaining from a plenary session." The largest opposition
party is not necessarily monolithic.

The DPJ has opposed the sympathy budget, describing Japan's
contribution to the salaries of Japanese employees at recreational
facilities on U.S. bases as a "waste" of money. This has chilled the
DPJ's relationship with the All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union
(Zenchuro), a supporter of the main opposition party.

Zenchuro faxed yesterday a statement to DPJ executives, including
President Ozawa, noting that the party's policy course to oppose the
sympathy budget was extremely regrettable.

The statement also said, "We have received a strong complaint from
the (Zenchuro) Yamaguchi chapter that under the situation, they
cannot campaign (for the DPJ)," suggesting a review of its campaign
cooperation apparently with the April 27 Lower House Yamaguchi No. 2
district by-election in mind.

(11) Gov't should make constructive proposal for SOFA revisions to
build healthy alliance with U.S.

MAINICHI (Page 4) (Full)
April 2, 2008

Nakae Ueno, Political Section, Mainichi Shimbun

In February, a U.S. serviceman was arrested for his alleged rape of
a junior high school girl in Okinawa Prefecture. (In this incident,
the U.S. serviceman was acquitted with the victim having withdrawn
her complaint. The U.S. military is now investigating the case.)
Since then, I have been wondering why the people of Okinawa
Prefecture continue to call for the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces
Agreement (SOFA) to be revised and why the government continues to
reject the call. And through a rally held on Mar. 23 in Okinawa
Prefecture's Chatan Town in protest of incidents and accidents
caused by U.S. military personnel, I could see the Japan-U.S.
security alliance's dilemma that lies behind the standoff between
Okinawa's local communities and the government.

"The Japanese government does nothing for its people. The U.S.
serviceman who raped me must be returned to Japan." With this, Jane
(fictitious name), an Australian woman who was raped six years ago
by a Yokosuka-based U.S. Navy serviceman and who now lives in Tokyo,
made an appeal in a rally of 6,000 people. Prosecutors dropped her
case, and the U.S. serviceman returned home. Jane won a civil
lawsuit. However, damages have yet to be paid. U.S. military
personnel have brought about incidents and accidents, and 80 PERCENT
of them happened when they were off duty. However, those off-duty
incidents and accidents were left to out-of-court negotiations.
Damages are not paid in most cases.

Jane cried: "Everybody can be a victim. I was not to blame." In the
rally was a 60-year-old woman wiping her tears. She said, "She spoke
for the junior high school girl and all other victims." Jane said,
"Today, I finally felt that I am not alone." She added, "Thank you."
An old woman then ran up to Jane. She took Jane's hands, and said:
"I have endured things for 50 years. You made me feel today that I

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can start living again."

The small island prefecture of Okinawa is home to 75 PERCENT of all
U.S. military facilities in Japan. Local people are therefore highly
likely to be involved in incidents and accidents caused by U.S.
military personnel. According to the Defense Ministry, incidents and
accidents caused in Japan by U.S. military personnel in fiscal 2006
totaled 1,549 cases. Among those cases, 953 cases, or more than 60
PERCENT , occurred in Okinawa. This rate per 100,000 people is 140
times higher than that in all other mainland prefectures. This
figure, remaining almost unchanged over the past decade, can be
taken as reflecting the concentrated presence of U.S. military bases
in Okinawa.

The problem of compensation for victims is the tip of the iceberg of
the SOFA's inequality. The SOFA allows U.S. forces to use bases in
Japan under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and it also stipulates
the legal status of U.S. military personnel. In addition, the SOFA
accords various privileges, such as exemption from Japanese laws and
taxation. In 1995, Okinawa-based U.S. servicemen gang-raped a local
schoolgirl. At that time, the U.S. military rejected a local police
request to turn over the suspects before they were indicted. This is
one of the problems that became symbolic of the SOFA's inequality.
The U.S. military is not required to decontaminate its bases even if
their waste pollutes the environment. A U.S. military chopper once
crashed on the campus of a university in Okinawa. In that accident,
the U.S. military did not allow local police to access the crash
site. Okinawa Prefecture called on the government each time to
revise the SOFA. This time, another problem came up. SOFA-status
personnel are exempted from alien registration, so local authorities
were unable to grasp off-base U.S. military personnel. The SOFA is
just like "Pandora's box," according to a Foreign Ministry source.
Okinawa's call for SOFA revisions is an accusation against the
concentrated presence of U.S. military bases on Okinawa.

But then, the question is why the government refuses to revise SOFA
provisions. According to government officials and ruling party
executives, that is "because the United States is reluctant" to
revise the SOFA. The government has outwardly explained that SOFA
revisions would have repercussions on other U.S. allies hosting U.S.
forces. In the past, however, Germany and South Korea negotiated
with the United States for SOFA revisions. A New Komeito lawmaker
made an appeal to U.S. Congress people on the necessity of revising
the SOFA. This lawmaker said: "They, regardless of being Republicans
and Democrats, think the Japan-U.S. security alliance is unilateral.
They won't accept Japan's request to revise the SOFA."

"Unilateral" in the New Komeito lawmaker's words denotes that
although the United States must defend Japan in the event of
emergencies, Japan does not have to defend the United States.
Instead, Japan provides bases to U.S. forces and bears the heaviest
burden of costs among all other host nations for the stationing of
U.S. forces in Japan as the "sympathy budget" (omoiyari yosan). A
lawmaker with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's defense panel
noted: "If Japan is constitutionally allowed to participate in
collective self-defense, and if we are on an equal footing to defend
each other, then we don't have to ask them to base their troops in
Japan for our national defense."

The bilateral security arrangement between Japan and the United
States dates back to Japan's independence in 1952. Japan, under its
war-renouncing constitution, chose to ask the United States to

TOKYO 00000913 011 OF 012

defend Japan, with Okinawa separated from Japan and placed under the
U.S. military's occupation. A substantial reduction of the U.S.
military presence in Japan is linked to the inevitability of
revising its postwar constitution. Naha City's Mayor Takeshi Onaga,
who participated in the rally as a conservative head of local
government, pointed to such a dilemma as a "distortion" of the
bilateral security alliance. "There's no independence for Japan
without a solution to Okinawa's base problems," Onaga added.

I cannot agree to the advocacy of participating in collective
self-defense as requested by the United States. As a constructive
suggestion for a healthy alliance with the United States, Japan
should propose negotiations with the United States to revise the
SOFA. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda flatly defied the idea of revising
the SOFA. Meanwhile, Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) President
Ichiro Ozawa has only suggested the necessity of a "truly equal

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima did not participate in the rally.
However, Gov. Nakaima is scheduled to visit the United States in
September for SOFA revisions. As long as there are incidents and
accidents involving U.S. military personnel, Okinawa would never
stop crying out for SOFA revisions. Japan and the United States must
sincerely respond to the voice of Okinawa, or the bilateral security
alliance will contribute to the growing magma (of discontent) that
could erupt at any time.

(12) Editorial: DPJ weakening Japan-U.S. alliance

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 3, 2008

Japan's alliance with the United States is now being undermined. A
special deal on Japan's burden sharing of costs for the stationing
of U.S. forces in Japan has now expired. As a result, the government
cannot execute the budget. In addition to such a vacuum, the
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) is now opposed to the budget
unlike before.

A political party that is trying to take the reins of government is
threatening to weaken the Japan-U.S. alliance, which is the axis of
Japan's national security. We cannot but say it is an irresponsible
political conduct resulting in the loss of Japan's credibility.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed a new
special agreement yesterday to replace the old one that expired at
the end of March, with a majority of votes from the ruling coalition
of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito. The DPJ approved
the last two accords. However, the DPJ opposed the new one,
maintaining that the budget's cutback is insufficient. The new
accord is expected to clear the House of Representatives today.

In the House of Councillors, the new agreement is expected to be
vetoed with a majority of votes from the DPJ and other opposition
parties. However, the new accord will be approved (as a treaty) in
line with constitutional provisions allowing the House of
Representatives' decision to take precedence over the House of
Councillors' decision.

The U.S. military will cover the vacuum portion until the new
agreement comes into effect. However, this is the first such case
since the burden-sharing system started in 1978.

TOKYO 00000913 012 OF 012

The vacuum has arisen because the opposition camp, led by the DPJ,
demanded all-out deliberations. The standoff between the ruling and
opposition parties over road-related tax revenues also spurred on
the Diet turmoil.

The new accord is to carry out a total cutback of 800 million yen in
Japan's payment of charges for utilities (currently 25.3 billion yen
a year) over the next three years. In the new accord, the Japanese
government changed its cost accounting for utilities in order to
constrain its burden sharing. In the past, the Japanese government
used to set an upper limit on the annual use of utilities.
Meanwhile, the new accord caps the amount of money to be paid for

The Diet focused its debate on the advisability of taking on salary
payments for employees working at recreational facilities on U.S.
military bases. In addition, the Diet also discussed facts about
housing construction for U.S. military personnel and their families,
such as spending 48 million yen per unit. Defense Minister Shigeru
Ishiba explained that U.S. military personnel in Japan are provided
with amenity like that in the United States.

The new accord prescribes the U.S. military's further cost-cutting
efforts. It is impermissible to waste money. Japan's burden sharing
is heavier than in the case of other countries hosting U.S. forces.
This also must be corrected immediately, or it would be difficult to
get public understanding. At the same time, however, we must also
consider the cost of security to defend Japan.

The year before last, the DPJ came up with its manifesto that set
forth a course of action to "establish a true bilateral alliance,
with Japan and the United States on an equal footing." The new
accord is needed for a facilitative and effective security
arrangement between Japan and the United States. The DPJ has
rejected this. How can the DPJ propose a true bilateral alliance?


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