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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 June 29 - July 5  > 90% of US military-related crimes not prosecuted last year
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2022 June 29 - July 5 [US FORCES]

90% of US military-related crimes not prosecuted last year

June 29, 2022
Out of ordinary criminal offenses committed by U.S. military personnel, U.S. military-attached civilian employees, and families of U.S. servicemen, about 90% were exempted from prosecution last year, according to materials the Japan Peace Committee obtained from the Justice Ministry through an information disclosure request.

The prosecution rate of crimes committed by U.S. military-related people accounted for about 11.3%, less than one third of that of criminals in Japan, revealing that U.S. military criminal offenders receive "preferential treatment".

The Justice Ministry materials show that one murder, nine injury cases, three physical assaults, and two embezzlements were all exempted from prosecution. Nine out of eleven rapes, 32 of 33 thefts, and seven out of nine burglaries were not indicted. Regarding negligent driving resulting in death or injury which is not categorized as ordinary criminal offenses, 138 of 164 cases were not prosecuted.

The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and a Japan-U.S. secret accord lie behind the dropping of these cases. Article 17 of the SOFA allows the U.S. authorities to exercise the primary jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. military service members while "on duty" and Japan has the primary right to use its jurisdiction over such crimes while "not on duty". However, the Japanese government in a bilateral joint committee in 1953 singed a secret accord and renounced Japan's administration of justice in regard to U.S. military-related crimes, except for cases of extreme importance.
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