Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
 
 
HOME
Past issues
Special issues
Books
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Link
Mail magazine
Blog [Japanese]
 
   
 
HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 August 20 - 26  > Justice ministry told prosecutors to accept U.S. request for waiver of Japan’s primary right to exercise jurisdiction over U.S. military crimes
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2008 August 20 - 26 TOP3 [US FORCES]

Justice ministry told prosecutors to accept U.S. request for waiver of Japan’s primary right to exercise jurisdiction over U.S. military crimes

August 11, 2008
In 1953, the Justice Ministry instructed prosecutors to accept a U.S. request for a waiver of the primary right of Japan to exercise jurisdiction over U.S. military crimes in Japan. This became known recently from a document the ministry published in 1972.

In 1953, the Justice Ministry instructed prosecutors to accept a U.S. request for a waiver of the primary right of Japan to exercise jurisdiction over U.S. military crimes in Japan. This became known recently from a classified document the ministry published in 1972.

This is the first domestic document to confirm the fact that Japan and the United States had a secret agreement on Japan’s acceptance of the U.S. request, which had so far been revealed from declassified U.S. documents.

The Justice Ministry’s detective superintendent issued the directive on October 7, 1953 to the superintendent and the chief public prosecutor when the Japan-U.S. Administrative Agreement was concluded in that year in regard to the agreement’s provision that Japan has the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over members of the United States armed forces or their civilian component in relation to offenses arising out of any act or omission done in the performance of official duty.

This directive was included in a document produced by the ministry’s Criminal Affairs Bureau in March 1972 as part of secret working papers concerning exercising the right of jurisdiction over the United States armed forces or the civilian component.

Concerning the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over their crimes, it noted that Japan should very carefully take into account relevant international cases.

It added that Japan must take into consideration various matters concerned so that the primary right shall be used in specific cases that could only be regarded as of essential importance, suggesting that Japan will accept any U.S. requests for waiver of its primary right unless they have no “essential importance.”

The document also maintains that the “certificate of official duty” issued by a commander of U.S. military members and/or their civilian component should include such wordings as “the omission was done in the performance of official duty” and that that was enough.

It also noted that “official duty” implies “military customs” and that it was almost customary for U.S. military officers to control possible misconducts by their subordinates. This allowed the U.S. military to maintain that any such offenses were done while on official duty. - Akahata, August 11, 2008
> List of Past issues
 
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved