The Japan US Status Agreement

Recently, I have noticed since I started working in the garden almost every day that there were many helicopters and cargo airplanes were flying over in this area. Almost no interval between those flights in the daytime. They are not at the low altitude, so that they won' t be so noisy as that disturbing our lives. But I wondered where they came from and went to. I haven't reached any conclusion about that yet. It seemed not a private planes or helicopters, but, most likelily, those belonging to the Air Self Defence Force, ADSF, or the US Military. There are still a couple of air force bases 20 or 30 miles away in the both directions they have flown to and from. 

From a book regarding the Japan US Status Agreement based on the Japan US Security Treaty, I have learned that there are 7 training routes of the US Military airplanes or helicopters. They extend
all over our country except for the big city areas. It seemed a route in Tohoku area could be involved those flights in this area. The Status Agreement says that the US Military aireplanes or helicopters could fly anywhere in Japan as the inter-base flights. In the training route, they are told to fly as low as 200 ft even in the residential areas like in Okinawa.  It is against our domestic law which prohibits flight below 500 ft anywhere. Of course, so is it in the US. The flights of US Military are out of the control by the law of either country.

A number of the Ospreys, the cargo hellicopter famous for a number of serious accidents and called as the widow maker, have been stationed in Japan. According to the Status Agreement, they must be in the training on those routes above mentioned. I have heard, with the citizens' protests, the flights of this hellicopter were given up or postponed in such as New Mexico or Hawaii. On the other hand, despite of a powerful protests against its flights in Okinawa, those hellicopters are still stationed and are in the training. The people are living just next to the air force bases. They also have experienced a crash accident at a university several years ago.  Okinawa has 74% of the US Military bases in Japan despite of its small size of land, 0.6% of the whole land in Japan. It would be too late if we are aware of the risk the flight gives to them at ceratin crash accident in the future. Something is wrong.

The Japan US Status Agreement and its related secret agreement have a number of rules one sided to the US Military. For examle, in addition to the above mentioned free flight by the US Military anywhere in Japan, any suspect of a crime are supposed not to be accused so far as the crime is not serious. Even serious crime cases are accused at lower rate than that committed by  japanese suspects. The suspects of the US Military and of the service personnel/families are not arrested by our police until they are accused. And there are many more examples of the one sided rules. It was a real surprise to me. Even compared with the US Status Agreements with the other countries like Korea, germany, Italy or Iraq, this Agreement is too one sided in a variety of fields. Not fair.
A friend of mine, a US citizen, told me in an SNS that the US military has been working for the security of Japan for years. Yes, it is a right insight. But the Japan US Security law says we, Japanese, should do with any friction with the other country by ourselves for the first place.  It is a common sense in the international society. We won't claim the US Military should do more than this. It has been almost 70 years since the end of the war and 61 years since the San Francisco Peace Treaty was concluded. Those unfair rules may not be related with the aim of the security treaty now. 

Of course, it is not due to the indifference of the US Military but also to the unwillingness or indifference of our politicians and the officials, especially, in the Minstry of Foreign Affairs. They should negotiate and reform the Status Agreement as that suitable for a independent nation. It seems there are, in this Agreement, a culture to regard the relationship to a certain country more important than the right of the people, or, I suspect, rather something profitable to them. The relationship with the US is distorted and giving rise to much defect in our society.   

The relationship with the US still remains one of the most important ones in the world for Japan. Personally, I have so many good friends in the US. I felt, however, it is the time for us to straighten our relationship at present. Hopefully, my friends will be interested in this issue.

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