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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 March 29 - April 4  > US civilian personnel attached to US military in Japan increased to 13K
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2023 March 29 - April 4 [US FORCES]

US civilian personnel attached to US military in Japan increased to 13K

April 3, 2023

The number of U.S. civilian employees attached to the U.S. military in Japan who are granted special privileges under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement has increased to 12,926 as of January 16, Akahata on April 3 learned through its inquiry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Of the 12,926, the number of employees of the companies contracted to the U.S. Forces Japan has been on the rise as well, currently at 3,792.

Article 1 of the SOFA relates to civilian employees attached to the USFJ, making possible wide interpretations of the definition of USFJ civilian employees. In the case that these base-affiliated personnel commit crimes or cause accidents "while on duty", it will be the United States which has the primary jurisdiction over them.

In April 2016, a U.S. civilian employee who had been a U.S. marine raped and murdered a Japanese woman in Okinawa's Uruma City. Following this incident, the Japanese and U.S. governments in January 2017 added a supplementary clause to the SOFA to "make clear" who are considered to be USFJ civilian employees.

However, the total number of such employees in January 2023 was 12,926, up 5,878 from the end of October 2017. The number of employees working for USFJ contractors was 3,792, up 1,451 in comparison with six years ago.

In effect, only the U.S. side can decide who are eligible to be designated as U.S. military civilian employees and can increase the number who have special privileges under the SOFA.

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