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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 June 3 - 9  > Japan paid 600 million yen to victims of crimes and accidents caused by U.S. servicemen
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2009 June 3 - 9 [US FORCES]

Japan paid 600 million yen to victims of crimes and accidents caused by U.S. servicemen

May 28, 2009
The Japanese government had paid a total of 632 million yen as consolation money to victims of crimes and accidents caused by off duty U.S. military personnel during the last 36 years.

This was revealed by a Defense Minister official on May 26 at a House of Councilors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting in his response to a question by Japanese Communist Party representative Inoue Satoshi.

During the period between the FY 1972 and FY 2008, the Japanese government used 233 million yen in 24 cases in Okinawa and 149 million yen in 27 cases in the mainland by providing consolation money as a “relief measure” to victims of crimes and accidents caused by off duty U.S. servicemen because the U.S. government refused to pay them compensation.

When the compensation paid by the U.S. government was lower than that designated by the courts, the Japanese government made up the difference in five cases in Okinawa (182 million yen) and two cases in the mainland (68 million yen) since 1996.

Inoue stated that although it is important for victims to receive about the same amount of money as designated compensation, “the money should originally be paid by the U.S. servicemen who committed the crimes and caused the accidents. If they cannot do so, the U.S. government should provide it,” said Inoue, and demanded that the government request the U.S. side to repay the consolation money that the Japanese government paid out.

Under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, the U.S. government is required to pay compensation to victims of crimes and accidents caused by off duty U.S. military personnel. But if the U.S. side fails to pay, the Japanese government has to pay consolation money to them.

In the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) decided that when the U.S. side pays compensation at an amount lower than the amount ordered by the courts, the Japanese government should make up the difference.
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