U.S. refuses to hand over Marine suspect

At a Japan-U.S. Joint Committee meeting in Tokyo on December 5, the U.S. government rejected Japan's request that the U.S. Marine officer suspected of attempting to rape a woman in Okinawa on November 2 be handed over to Japanese police.

Although Japan's government expressed regret for the U.S. rejection, it is not planning to submit the request again to the U.S.

The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) does not require the U.S. Forces to hand over suspects to Japan before indictment.

After the gang rape incident of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three U.S. Marines in 1995, the U.S. government agreed to give "sympathetic consideration" in handing over suspects accused of serious crimes including murder and rape. However, the SOFA still fails to oblige the U.S. to hand over suspects.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken in the House of Representative Security Committee demanded that the government request that the U.S. hand over the U.S. Marine suspect without further delay. (end)