Why it's time to revise agreement on US forces in Japan

The Covid-19 outbreaks at US bases are among many controversies. Changes to Sofa will strengthen the alliance at a time when more is being asked of Japan in supporting American security interests.

The US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa. The writer says Japan’s Status of Forces Agreement, or Sofa, should be revised to bring it into line with US agreements with other key allies. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
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Recent clusters of Covid-19 cases in prefectures with United States military bases have rekindled Japanese anger with the Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa) that provides the legal standing for American military personnel stationed in Japan.

While the Covid-19 outbreak has given new ammunition to opponents of the US presence, it also offers an opportunity for defenders of the alliance to support much needed revisions.

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