Inhofe Registers Concerns Over US-Japan Relations

Top Issues: Relocation of Futenma; Child Abduction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, today used a hearing on U.S.- Japan relations to register his concerns on two topics.   

Inhofe, in the form of a written statement for the hearing, expressed security-related concerns over Japan’s delay in the previously agreed upon relocation of the U.S. Marine’s Futenma Air Station to a less populated part of northern Okinawa.  Additionally, Inhofe also registered his deep concerns over the problem of parent child abduction.

 Inhofe on Futenma 

“U.S. and Japanese officials settled on a relocation of our Marines stationed in Okinawa to the far less populated and congested location at Camp Schwab.  But now, after 13 years of negotiations, and an agreement signed in 2006 by the U.S. and Japanese governments, the present government has stated that it might not honor the agreement in part or whole.  Does the new Japanese government want to fundamentally alter the U.S.-Japan security alliance? 

“The Hatoyama government has twice put off giving a definitive response whether it will honor Japan’s treaty commitments relating to Futenma.  Unsettlingly, there are those who confidently predict that a final decision will be further delayed until after the July 2010 Upper House elections.  And even if the election brings a greater majority, the present government will find itself still bound to implicit domestic political promises that fundamentally alter our longstanding security relationship.” 

Inhofe on Parent Child Abductions 

“We are experiencing an increasing problem with Japanese citizens abducting their American children and successfully returning to a safe harbor in Japan.  Shockingly, it is my understanding that since 1952 when Japan regained its sovereignty, not a single kidnapped child from an American parent has ever been returned to the U.S. from Japan.  In addition, I understand these American children living in Japan are often denied access to their American parent after a parental separation or divorce. 

“These children are alienated from their loving American parent, and the psychological trauma is extremely damaging.  This tragedy for these American children and their left-behind American parents is overwhelming and must come to an end.  The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction has not been ratified by Japan.  If Japan truly wishes to participate in the international community, it must follow international norms and ratify this treaty.”