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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 31 - June 6  > More than 80% of crimes committed by US servicemen not indicted
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2017 May 31 - June 6 TOP3 [US FORCES]

More than 80% of crimes committed by US servicemen not indicted

June 1, 2017
Out of non-traffic Penal Code offenses involving U.S. military personnel in Japan, only 16.9% went to trial last year, and 83.1% were exempted from prosecution.

According to the materials the Japan Peace Committee obtained from the Justice Ministry through access to official information, the number of indictments against U.S. servicemen totaled 14 in 2016, while 69 cases went unchallenged. The 16.9% is less than half of the overall prosecution rate in Japan (39.1%).

Surprisingly, only 17 out of 178 auto accidents resulting in injury and death caused by U.S. military-related members were taken to court.

The conviction rate has remained at below 20% over the last ten years, implying that roughly 80% of U.S.-committed crimes or accidents have been customary laid aside.

Article 17 of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) gives the United States the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over offenses committed by U.S. soldiers in Japan “on duty”. Because of this stipulation, as long as the U.S. authorities refuse to hand suspects over to Japan’s custody, Japan cannot file their charges.

Even if criminal offenses occur while “off-duty”, based on a secret agreement reached at the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee on October 28 in 1953, Japan has to renounce its primary jurisdiction over all cases, except for very serious incidents.

Past related articles:
> More than 80% of US servicemen committing crimes in Japan unindicted[June 4, 2016]
> 50 years of Japan-U.S. Alliance SOFA, the Darkness - part III Japanese Government secretly agrees to renounce the right of jurisdiction [April 5,2010]
> Bilateral ‘secret agreement’ is preventing U.S. servicemen committing crimes in Japan from being prosecuted[May 23, 2009]
> Over 80 percent of U.S. servicemen committing crimes in Japan not prosecuted[May 16, 2009]
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