On August 13, 2004, a United States Marine Corps helicopter crashed on the campus of Okinawa International University. The helicopter crash and the resulting U.S. military investigation served to reinvigorate pent up resentment and anger towards the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, threatening to destabilize the long standing relationship between the two nations. This Note discusses the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement which, among other things, apportions jurisdictional authority over off-base U.S. military accidents that occur on Okinawa. This Note argues that the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (U.S.-Japan SOFA) should be a reciprocal agreement and that the United States should amend the Agreed Minutes of the U.S.-Japan SOFA to allow for a joint effort in investigating and securing off-base military accident sites. Altering the U.S.- Japan SOFA will be a substantial step in demonstrating that the United States views Japan as an equal partner in the effort to encourage peace and prosperity in the Asian hemisphere.
Ian R. McConnel,
A Re-Examination of the United States-Japan Status of Forces Agreement,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.