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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 November 23 - 29  > US should give up its jurisdiction over crimes by US civilian employees in Japan
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2011 November 23 - 29 [US FORCES]

US should give up its jurisdiction over crimes by US civilian employees in Japan

November 23, 2011
Demanded repeatedly by the Japanese Communist Party, the government has at last begun talks with the United States to acquire Japanese jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. military attached civilian employees in Japan.

At the House of Councilors Judicial Affairs Committee on November 22, Justice Minister Hiraoka Hideo said in reply to JCP lawmaker Inoue Satoshi, “We are discussing a solution with the United States to the jurisdiction issue.”

According to Ihara Jun’ichi, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s North American Affairs Bureau, the two governments are also reviewing the present state of jurisdiction so that Japan can prosecute U.S. military and civilian personnel who cause car accidents after drinking at official events.

Under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Japan does not have primary jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. servicemen in Japan if they are designated as being “on duty”.

For example, none of the 62 crimes in Japan committed by U.S. civilian personnel between September 2006 and 2010 were taken to court-martial in the United States. 27 of the accused did not even receive any disciplinary punishment.

Citing this fact, JCP Inoue said, “They are a continuing threat to the safety of Japanese people. Japan should proclaim to the United States that Japan will exercise jurisdiction over U.S. crimes occurred in Japan.”
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