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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 September 7 - 13  > 210,000 crimes and accidents committed by US servicemen in Japan
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2011 September 7 - 13 TOP3 [US FORCES]

210,000 crimes and accidents committed by US servicemen in Japan

September 8, 2011
For the past 60 years under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the number of crimes and accidents committed by U.S. military personnel in Japan reached nearly 210,000, including the deaths of 1,088 Japanese civilians.

This was revealed from the data that the Defense Ministry submitted to Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken in response to his request for that information, Akahata reported on September 8.

The data shows that between 1952, when the former Security Treaty was signed between the Japanese and U.S. governments, and 2010, U.S. servicemen and military employees caused 208,029 crimes and accidents.

Among them, 48,504 occurred during official duty of U.S. forces personnel while 159,522 were committed by off-duty servicemen.

The Defense Ministry’s data does not include the number of U.S. forces’ crimes and accidents which occurred in Okinawa before the 1972 restoration of the prefecture. If they are added, the number will be much higher. Since 1972, among 77,886 reported crimes and accidents involving U.S. servicemen, 45,810 occurred in Okinawa alone.

Akamine said, “Even after its restoration, Okinawa has frequently experienced atrocious crimes committed by U.S. military personnel, including murder, rape, and arson, crashes and noise pollution of U.S. military aircraft, and bush fires triggered by U.S. live fire military exercises. The structure in which the U.S. forces trample on Okinawan people’s human rights remains unchanged.”

The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) based on the Security Treaty states that the United States has the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over offenses caused by its military personnel while on duty.

In the case of a U.S. military employee who caused a car accident killing a Japanese person in Okinawa City in January, the Japanese authority in accordance with the SOFA made a decision to not indict him because he was on duty. The employee was only subject to a punishment of a five-year driving disqualification by the U.S. military authority.

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