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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 8 - 14  > 1953 Japan-US secret deal condones 80% of crimes committed by US military personnel in Japan
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2018 August 8 - 14 TOP3 [US FORCES]

1953 Japan-US secret deal condones 80% of crimes committed by US military personnel in Japan

August 9, 2018

Only 17.2% of U.S. military personnel who committed crimes last year in Japan were indicted and the remaining 80% were not indicted.

According to the document the Japan Peace Committee obtained through access to official information, the 17.2% is less than half of the country's overall prosecution rate.

None of the following crimes involving U.S. servicemen - home invasions, sexual molestations, rapes, assaults, destroying and concealing evidence - was prosecuted. While only two U.S. thieves faced prosecution, 30 were not even accused. Out of bodily injury cases through vehicular negligence, only 24 came under indictment while 145 were exempted.

The main reason for such a low prosecution rate in terms of crimes committed by U.S. military personnel in Japan is the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. Article 17 of the SOFA gives primary jurisdiction to the U.S. authorities if a crime is committed by a U.S. serviceman while "on duty". Unless they hand over the suspect to Japan, the Japanese police and prosecutors cannot file charges.

In the case that a U.S. serviceman perpetrates a crime while "off duty", Japan has primary jurisdiction. However, in a secret agreement the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee made on October 28 in 1953, Japan promised that it will not exercise its own jurisdiction over crimes by U.S. servicemen in Japan, except for particularly serious ones.

Past related articles:
> More than 80% of crimes committed by US servicemen not indicted [June 1, 2017]
> More than 80% of US servicemen committing crimes in Japan unindicted [June 4, 2016]
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