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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 October 26 - November 1  > Japan has jurisdiction over crimes by US military attached civilian employees in Japan: JCP
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2011 October 26 - November 1 [US FORCES]

Japan has jurisdiction over crimes by US military attached civilian employees in Japan: JCP

October 30, 2011
Diet interpellations on October 27 revealed that the U.S. military authorities are of the opinion that a host country can exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. military attached civilian employees in the host country.

This was ascertained during the House of Councilors Judicial Affairs Committee meeting by Japanese Communist Party member Inoue Satoshi.

Article 17 of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) stipulates that the United States has primary jurisdiction over crimes committed by a U.S. serviceman or a military civilian employee if the perpetrator is “on official duty.”

Last January, a U.S. military attached civilian employee was involved in a traffic accident in which a youth died, but he was not prosecuted because he had been “on official duty,” and was only given an administrative disposition of a 5-year suspension of driving privileges.

Inoue pointed out that a handbook published in 2001 by U.S. military authorities on laws concerning the U.S. military stationed in host countries states that a host country should have full jurisdiction over a crime committed by U.S. military family members or U.S. military attached civilian employees in violation of the host country’s laws.

Inoue argued that this contradicts the SOFA stipulation. Justice Minister Hiraoka Hideo replied that he will respond to that question after he consults with foreign ministerial authorities.

The foreign ministry revealed that 46 U.S. military attached civilian employees who committed crimes in the three years since 2008 were not prosecuted because they were designated as having been “on official duty.”
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