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U.S. forces in Japan cannot be allowed to thumb noses at the law

15 5 0

Revelations that the U.S. Sasebo naval base allowed Japanese security guards to carry firearms outside the facility raises serious questions about the U.S. forces’ commitment to respecting Japanese laws and government requests.

It emerged that guards at the U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo base in Nagasaki Prefecture repeatedly walked on a public road outside the base carrying loaded firearms under instructions from U.S. officers who are their superiors.

The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement allows U.S. servicemen to carry firearms off base when they are on duty, but Japanese workers at U.S. military bases are allowed to carry weapons only within military facilities.

The case represents a violation of not only the agreement, known as SOFA, but also possibly Japan’s firearm and sword control law.

Defense Ministry officials said the guards in question carried the firearms between May 2 and 10 when crossing a municipal road about 10 meters in width on several occasions to reach another part of the base.

These 10 meters........

© The Asahi Shimbun