Low indictment rate for crimes involving U.S. military personnel in Okinawa
August 13, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo
An investigation conducted by the Japan Peace Committee has revealed that the indictment rate for crimes (excluding vehicular manslaughter) committed by U.S. military personnel, including their family members and civilian personnel, in Okinawa was 16.2% in 2010.
The indictment rate for crimes (excluding vehicular manslaughter) committed by U.S. military personnel in all of Japan was 11.7%, considerably lower than the rate for Japanese which sat at 42.2%.
The statistics clearly indicate that both the U.S. and Japanese governments still accord special treatment to U.S. military personnel who have committed crimes.
The Japan Peace Committee submitted a request to the Justice Ministry for a data file of indicted and dropped cases of crimes and other incidents involving U.S. military personnel. The Ministry complied with the request, releasing the data file, which the Committee then used for its investigation.
The member of the Committee said, “The statistics reveal that the prosecutor’s office consistently adheres to a secret accord between Japan and the United States in which, except for major crimes, Japan waives its primary jurisdiction over crimes committed by the U.S. military personnel.”
The Committee’s investigation shows that the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office has accepted 300 (56.3%) of the 533 criminal cases involving the U.S. military personnel for the past ten years.
The Office has accepted 722 (67.7%) of all the crimes committed by the U.S. military personnel (1067) involving violations of special laws such as the Cannabis Control Act.
In the breakdown of cases involving U.S. military personnel that were either indicted and dropped, the number of traffic law violations and vehicular manslaughters were overwhelmingly high.
In the prefecture, 57 U.S. military personnel were exempted from prosecution for vehicular manslaughter and 64 exempted from prosecution for traffic law violations because these incidents were judged to have occurred while they were “on duty.”
(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey）
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