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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 August 20 - 26  > Japan’s waivers of jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. military personnel remain unchanged
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2008 August 20 - 26 [US FORCES]

Japan’s waivers of jurisdiction over crimes committed by U.S. military personnel remain unchanged

August 26, 2008
The Japan-U.S. arrangement that Japan “would waive its primary right to exercise jurisdiction except in cases of ‘special importance’ to Japan” is still in effect. This has been confirmed by an article published in 2001 by two legal officers of the U.S. Forces.

The article entitled “The Agreement Regarding Status of Foreign Forces in Japan” was collectively written by Lieutenant Colonel Dale Sonnenberg, chief of international law at the Office of the Judge Advocate of the U.S. Forces in Japan, and Donald A. Timm, special advisor to the Judge Advocate, HQ, UN Command/U.S. Forces in Korea.

Acknowledging the existence of the Japan-U.S. informal agreement, the article underlines that this secret arrangement is still valid by stating, “Japan has faithfully carried out this understanding.”

In addition, the article points out that the U.S. policy goal is to “maximize US jurisdiction” over crimes committed by U.S. military personnel in foreign countries.

This shows that the U.S. forces are making every effort to prevent their personnel involved in crimes from being brought to justice in Japan.

The informal agreement on Japan’s waivers of jurisdiction was made in 1953 when the two governments revised the administrative agreement on the legal status of U.S. forces in Japan. This had already been revealed from declassified U.S. documents. - Akahata, August 26, 2008
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