Foreign Minister Kishida Conveys message to U.S. Ambassador Kennedy
In the morning of June 5, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, exchanged message with Ms. Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, following the traffic accident that occurred late at night on June 4 caused by a member of the U.S. Navy affiliated with Kadena Air Base who was driving under the influence, which resulted in injuries of the two locals. The outline of the exchange is as follows.
1. Minister Kishida conveyed his extreme regret and lodged a strong protest that such an incident happened so soon after the U.S. side committed to taking measures to prevent recurrence and to strengthening discipline and began a “period of unity and mourning” in Okinawa to further reinforce discipline, following the recent tragic incident. Minister Kishida also strongly called once again for the U.S. side to take full measures to prevent recurrence and strengthen discipline, and to provide full cooperation with the investigation.
2. Ambassador Kennedy stated that the incident is extremely regrettable and expressed her apologies. She also expressed deep concern for the conditions of those injured in the accident and extended her heartfelt apologies to them and their families. Ambassador Kennedy also reaffirmed that the U.S. Forces never tolerate driving under the influence and that any service member convicted of driving under the influence will strictly be held responsible. Ambassador Kennedy also stated that the fact that such an incident occurred during the “period of unity and mourning” in Okinawa is deeply upsetting and pledged the U.S. Government’s full cooperation with the Japanese authorities in the investigation of this case. Minister Kishida and Ambassador Kennedy confirmed they would maintain close communication on this case.
3. Additionally, Foreign Minister Kishida, noting that the Japan-U.S. Defense Ministers’ Meeting held the night before in Singapore had confirmed that both sides would discuss measures such as reviewing the SOFA implementation practices related to the U.S. personnel with SOFA status including civilian component, requested the maximum possible cooperation of the U.S. side for the prompt formulation of effective measures to prevent recurrence. Ambassador Kennedy concurred with this, and both sides confirmed that they would continue to closely cooperate.