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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 26 - April 1  > National Police Agency lacks information on U.S. military deserters in Japan
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2008 March 26 - April 1 [US FORCES]

National Police Agency lacks information on U.S. military deserters in Japan

March 27, 2008
Japan’s law enforcement authorities have admitted that they lack information about U.S. military deserters in Japan, in disregard of the established guideline.

At the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on March 26, a National Police Agency official admitted this in response to Japanese Communist Party representative Kasai Akira’s question in connection with a U.S. Navy deserter suspected of being implicated in the March 19 murder of a taxi driver in Yokosuka City in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Citing the NPA directive of 1968 concerning “U.S. military deserters,” Kasai asked the agency to give (1) the number of crimes committed by U.S. military deserters, (2) the number of deserters arrested by Japanese police at U.S. requests, and (3) the number of cases of military deserters that Japanese authorities were informed of by the U.S. forces in Japan (USFJ).

NPA Councilor Ono Masahiro revealed that since 2005, the NPA has been requested by USFJ to arrest deserters in nine cases. He added, however, that the agency has no information about military deserters before 2005.

The directive, which is effective today, requires prefectural police chiefs to report any USFJ requests to arrest deserters as well as of information obtained by the NPA and the corresponding Regional Police Bureaus.

Kasai asked, “If the NPA has received such reports in accordance with the directive, it should have the data. How can the NPA fulfill its security tasks without examining such information?”

The councilor promised to make efforts to be able to report the details of information the NPA received before 2005.

Citing past cases of felonies committed in Japan by U.S. military deserters, Kasai stressed, “Japan must negotiate with the U.S. over U.S. military deserters’ crimes after collecting information about them. The government must be vigilant in dealing with the United States to ensure the safety of Japanese citizens.”

Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko said, “The government will negotiate with the United States by sharing information with other ministries and government agencies.”
- Akahata, March 27, 2008
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