No cases involving military civilian employees “on duty” have been brought before a U.S. court martial in Japan

No cases involving military civilian employees “on duty” have been brought before a U.S. court martial in Japan

Number of cases of crimes and incidents involving civilian personnel on duty in the U.S. forces in Japan. (2006 -2010)


November 13, 2011 Hideki Matsudo of Ryukyu Shimpo

Of the 62 cases of crime or incidents involving U.S. military civilian employees in Japan that have occurred “in the line of duty” during the five-year period of 2006-2010, it was recently divulged that none of those have been brought to a court-martial, and 27 cases, or approximately 40% of those, were processed as being “not subject to punishment.” In 35 cases, disciplinary action against the suspected civilian employees was taken. Based on the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, if a U.S. military civilian employee causes a traffic accident while on duty, the Japanese side is required to turn the jurisdiction of the case over the United States authorities. However, it was revealed that after Japanese side renounced the right of jurisdiction, the U.S. military has wound up the cases without bringing the civilian suspects to a court-martial, or even without imposing any criminal penalties on them.

On November 11, the Justice Ministry responded to a question from Member of the House of Councilors Satoshi Inoue (Japanese Communist Party) and produced the relevant material. According to the explanation given by Inoue, the cases of crime and incidents involving U.S. civilians have mostly been traffic accidents. The U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement states that in the case of the traffic accidents caused by U.S. military service members and civilians “on duty,” the primary jurisdictions over this is determined to be with the United States. Meanwhile, the results of the exercise of jurisdiction or disposal of cases by the U.S. military side after the Japanese side has given up jurisdiction have not so far been revealed.

According to a summary released by the Justice Ministry, the number of crimes committed by U.S. civilian personnel on duty during 2006 was four, with two cases resulting in disciplinary action and two not subject to punishment. During 2007, it was 16 cases, including nine that resulted in disciplinary action and seven cases not subject to punishment. During 2008, it was 19 cases, including 12 resulting in disciplinary action and seven not subject to punishment. In 2009 it was 12 cases, eight involving disciplinary action and four not subject to punishment. During 2010, it was 11 cases, including four resulting in disciplinary action and seven not subject to punishment.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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