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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 December 9 - 15  > U.S. military refuses to hand over four children of U.S. servicemen allegedly involved in attempted murder
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2009 December 9 - 15 [US FORCES]
editorial 

U.S. military refuses to hand over four children of U.S. servicemen allegedly involved in attempted murder

December 4 & 6, 2009
Regarding the attempted murder case allegedly committed by four teenagers of U.S. military personnel stationed at the U.S. Yokota Air Base, the U.S. military in Japan refuses to hand them over to the Japanese police.


On August 13 at around 11 p.m., a woman riding a moped drove into a rope that had been strung across a road in Musashimurayama City in western Tokyo close to the Yokota Base. The woman was seriously injured with a fractured skull.

In the investigation, the local police got information that four foreign teenagers were at the crime scene. After examining surveillance video footage, the police concluded that the four children from the nearby U.S. Yokota Base might have been involved in the crime, and obtained an arrest warrant for them on suspicion of attempted murder.

According to the police, two of the four live on the Yokota Base.

The Japan-U.S. Status of U.S. Forces Agreement (SOFA) requires that the Japanese authority should have the U.S. military’s permission for arresting suspects or searching a residence within U.S. military facilities. Based on the SOFA, the local police requested the U.S. forces in Japan to turn over the four teenagers by December 1, but the U.S. military refused the request.

In response to Akahata’s question regarding their extradition, a Yokota Base official on December 2 said, “The Japanese police on November 24 informally made a request to turn them in. Based on our interpretation of the SOFA, our answer was ‘No’. If they make a request in the same way, our answer will be the same.”

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said that they will continue to call on the U.S. forces in Japan to turn over the four suspects by obtaining a new arrest warrant.

Regarding the police’s attitude, an expert pointed out, “It is unacceptable that the U.S. military interprets the SOFA in their own inconsistent manner.”

The Tokyo Peace Committee in its statement issued on December 1 said, “We protest against the U.S. forces in Japan for violating the SOFA, hiding suspected criminals on the base, and refusing to hand them over to the Japanese police. As long as U.S. bases exist, crimes that U.S. personnel are involved in will never stop. Victims are sacrificed because of the nation’s policy to tolerate the continued existence of U.S. bases in Japan. We urge the Japanese and the U.S. governments to review the SOFA drastically and to remove U.S. bases from Japan.”


4 dependent teenagers of U.S. airmen arrested for attempted murder

Tokyo Police on December 5 arrested four children of U.S. military personnel at the U.S. Yokota Air Base on suspicion of attempted murder by means of stretching a rope across a road in Musashimurayama City in Tokyo, resulting in serious injury to a Japanese woman riding a scooter.

They were three boys and one girl aged between 15 and 18. Two of them live on the Yokota AB. According to the police, they admitted being guilty of the allegation.
- Akahata, December 4 & 6, 2009
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