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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 August 20 - 26  > Justice Ministry admits to pressing library to withhold document about jurisdiction over U.S. military crimes
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2008 August 20 - 26 [US FORCES]

Justice Ministry admits to pressing library to withhold document about jurisdiction over U.S. military crimes

August 21, 2008
The Justice Ministry has admitted to requesting the National Diet Library (NDL) to “restrict” public access to the ministry’s document on how U.S. military servicemen in Japan should be treated when they committed crimes.

This is the first government confirmation that it had put pressure on the NDL, a serious move in violation of the citizens’ right to know.

It is significant that the government for the first time acknowledged the existence of a document concerning secret Japan-U.S. agreements which gave the U.S. side advantages over judging U.S. military personnel who committed crimes in Japan.

The document in question is a working paper concerning the jurisdiction over offenses committed by the U.S. armed forces or the civilian component, created by the Justice Ministry in March 1972.

It contains the government instruction in 1953 to prosecutors to give up Japan’s primary right to exercise jurisdiction over U.S. military crimes in Japan.

Since Akahata revealed the government attempt to hide the document on August 5, major newspapers have also covered the issue. - Akahata, August 21, 2008
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