|Resolution of Protest OVER THE U.S. FORCES’ PARACHUTE DROP TRAINING AT KADENA AIR BASE AND CALL FOR THE REVISION OF THE JAPAN-U.S. STATUS OF FORCES AGREEMENT (adopted unanimously)
U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Commander U.S. Forces Japan
Okinawa Area Coordinator
Commander, 18th Wing
Kadena Air Base
Resolution of Protest
On May 20, the U.S. Air Force conducted their parachute drop training at Kadena Air Base without providing prior notification to the Okinawa Prefectural Government, the surrounding municipalities, or to the Government of Japan.
This recent training exercise was larger in scale than those conducted up until now and thus a highly dangerous exercise that, with one mishap, could have caused a serious accident involving the residents of the surrounding communities. This training has caused concern and fear among the local residents as well as to the citizens in the rest of the Prefecture.
The public relations department at Kadena Air Base announced that “The weather at Ie Shima was not a factor in today’s jump;” and “Kadena AB is a GOJ-approved drop zone.” However, the said department has not made the reasons clear as to why Kadena Air Base was used exceptionally for this training, but instead, announced that this was a supplementary exercise for the training that was cancelled at Ie Shima, suggesting that similar training will be conducted freely at Kadena Air Base in the future.
The stance of the Government of Japan that permits such unilateral approach of the U.S. Forces even against this background, and the approach by both governments of Japan and the U.S. that repeatedly creates such situations, where we are to accept such training without prior notification as accomplished facts, can lead to these parachute drop training to be a constant and continual occurrence, which is unacceptable by any measure.
Furthermore, this year, we have seen a string of incidents and accidents which includes a fatal traffic accident involving a civilian employee of the U.S. Forces in which the case was dismissed, robbery by dependents of U.S. service member(s), and nonpayment of damages for pain and suffering related to a taxi robbery incident involving an underage American male. In particular, the decision given based on the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, by the Naha Public Prosecutor’s Office to not prosecute the male civilian employee who caused the fatal traffic accident in Okinawa City this past January, was judged by the Naha Committee for Inquest of Prosecution as “unjust and it merits prosecution.”
This decision suggests that the five-year driving suspension handed to the male U.S. military civilian by the U.S.-side is an unreasonably lenient punishment and the basis of defining the status of on-duty are unsubstantiated. What is need now is to make clear the scope of what is on- and/or off-duty status.
Thus far, every time an incident/accident occurs which involves a U.S. Forces’ service member or other components, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly has strongly called for attention to the points at issue and appealed for the review of items in the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. However, it is truly regrettable that both the governments of Japan and the U.S. have made no efforts to address or review these matters.
To that end, we, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, in our duty and standpoint to protect the lives, property and the rights of the people of Okinawa, solemnly protest the recent parachute drop training, and at the same time, call for the discontinuance of such parachute drop training at Kadena Air Base in the future, and strongly demand for the fundamental review of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.
The above is resolved as stated on this 29th day of June, 2011.
Okinawa Prefectural Assembly