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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 14 - 20  > US military refuses to cooperate in investigating collision between Japanese freighter and US destroyer
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2017 June 14 - 20 [US FORCES]

US military refuses to cooperate in investigating collision between Japanese freighter and US destroyer

June 20, 2017
It has come to light that the U.S. forces rejected a request for collaboration in investigations into a collision between a U.S. Navy Aegis ship and a Japanese containership.

The collision occurred in the predawn on June 17 off the coast of Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture. The U.S. Aegis guided missile destroyer Fitzgerald stationed at the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture collided with a Philippine-flagged cargo vessel chartered by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, and seven of the destroyer’s crew died.

Commander of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, on June 18 said at a press conference that if needed, the U.S. Navy will work together with Japan to investigate the fatal collision accident.

However, according to the Japan Coast Guard investigating into the crash, negotiations on cooperation from the U.S. Navy in investigation of the accident are on going.

Which vessel had the obligation to avoid a collision under the Act on Preventing Collision at Sea will be a focus of the investigation.

However, based on the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), if the U.S. exercises its privileges to refuse inspections of the U.S. warship, the cause of the collision may not be determined.

Lawyer Goto Masahiko, a co-representative of a civic group opposing the use of Yokosuka Port as the homeport of U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers stressed, “Since the collision occurred within Japanese territorial waters, Japan has the right to probe into the accident. The Abe government should urge the U.S. military to allow a thorough investigation into the collision.”

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