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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 January 11 - 17  > No US servicemen’s crimes taken to court in last 4 years
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2012 January 11 - 17 [US FORCES]

No US servicemen’s crimes taken to court in last 4 years

January 11, 2012
None of 28 serious crimes committed by U.S. servicemen in Japan while “on duty” between January 2008 and September 2011 were taken to court martial.

This was revealed by the Ministry of Justice in response to Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Akamine Seiken’s request made at the November 30 Lower House foreign affairs committee meeting.

This is the first detailed document released by the government regarding crimes committed by “on duty” U.S. military personnel.

The 28 cases include deaths of Japanese victims and injuries that take more than 4 weeks to recover from. They were all settled by disciplinary punishment given to those who were involved in the crimes.

The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) gives the U.S. military primary jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. military personnel and their civilian employees while “on duty”. Therefore, Japanese prosecutors have no legal right to indict them.

The Justice Ministry’s document reveals that even serious crimes have been settled by the U.S. military with minor punishment.

In the past, a government official admitted in the Diet that out of 318 crimes committed by “on duty” U.S. servicemen during 20 years from 1985 to 2004, only one was taken to court martial.
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