crime

Australian rape victim loses case against police for bungling investigation

37 Comments

The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by an Australian woman who accused the Japanese police of "second rape" by mistreating her case in 2002. But she said she was resolved to take the case to the Supreme Court, continuing her fight for 11 million yen in compensation.

"I am very disappointed with the ruling," said the Australian, who uses the pseudonym Jane. "This is a matter that concerns not just me but also everyone in Japan." Asked if she would appeal again, she said, "100%. I'm going up to the next step."

The plaintiff was raped in 2002 by a then sailor of the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier in the naval port city of Yokosuka.

After prosecutors dropped the case without pressing a criminal charge against the sailor, she filed a civil case with the Tokyo District Court and won the right to seek compensation of 3 million yen from her attacker.

Before the district court made a ruling in that case, the sailor left the country without informing his lawyer. The compensation was instead paid by the Japanese government earlier this year.

The victim also sued the local government of Kanagawa Prefecture, arguing its police had failed to fulfill their duties, such as preserving the rapist's sperm left in her body or taking her blood and urine samples.

She said in court that police officers had forced her to take them to the crime scene before she could wash and had not allowed her to go to hospital immediately.

The police demanded she pose for pictures to show how she had been raped, before releasing her 10 hours later, she said.

"I had to force myself not to use the toilet for four hours after the incident while being questioned by the police," Jane told reporters.

"It's a common sense in Australia that a rape victim should not use the toilet until the evidence is sampled," she said.

Judge Toshifumi Minami said in the ruling: "Though it would have been preferable if police officers had paid more consideration to the victim, the lack of consideration was not to the extent of violating the law."

Jane's lawyer, Mami Nakano, criticized the ruling. "If this kind of idea is tolerated in society, it would hinder rape victims from reporting their cases to police," she said.

© Wire reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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US Navy are always messing things up, people have only themselves to blame for getting involved with them.

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Although it is regrettable, I think this case would have seen the same outcome in any other western country (America, Britain, etc.). The principle is sovereign immunity or "the King can do no wrong." Judges and prosecutors have absolute immunity under state law in the US for example except for civil rights actions under federal law (§1983). Police are largely immune too. This is one circumstance where Japan is actually following the example set by western countries as unfortunate as it sounds. Hopefully her case will promote public awareness and encourage change, but she can't force change with this kind of civil action.

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bela is right, everybody should read the "Economist" article on this. Here is the link again:

http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12756824

There is a lot more specific information there that you aren't going to get in JT. Perhaps JT should link to this?

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I would say that the military protected it's own. Using a phrase like "military industrial complex" make the whole thing seem like a joke.

It would seem clear that there was nothing consensual about the incident but the guy was allowed to run without any consequences. I expect the Navy would say that without charges being brought by the Japanese authorities they had no reason to act. The excuses offered by the Japanese prosecutors show gross negligence. Inept is, perhaps, too kind.

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"She is a victim of the US military industrial complex."

I think only someone who believes that about himself could post something so ridiculous.

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sageb1, goodness, I haven't heard that cliche - US military industrial coomplex - since Nixon was a corporal.

The story says the sailor wasn't charged yet says the woman "was raped" by the sailor.

sageb1, that's the trouble with unattributed faux news stories like this. They can put out the most nonsensical, fantastical musings, yet large numbers of folks such as yourself tend to accept it as non-fiction.

The more anti-US, the better, neh?

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Jane can have no justice due to American foreign policy regarding its servicemen.

She is a victim of the US military industrial complex.

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Keep up your fight Jane. You've got a lot of guts, and you are a hero to not only myself but my wife and daughter. Its time the Keystones reform from a standard of 19th century law enforcement and come into the 21st century with the basics of forensic science practice. I wish you luck.

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She is lucky she did not go to the police by bicycle. She would have spent another 2 or 3 hours being grilled about who's bike it really is!

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Sorry, wrong link above.

It should be: http://www.economist.com/daily/columns/asiaview/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12756824&fsrc=nwl

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I don't get it!!

apparently not

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Also....Policemen in Japan? cmon, dont make me laugh... a bunch of under-achieving boy scouts... And this is also valid for most professions. Why one might ask? Because their sole goal and purpose in life is to pass the entrance test, get in the trade....being qualified doesnt even cross their minds. Colleges and Universities managed like internet based fake diplomas factories....what a bright future they have.... And being proud of THAT is beyond my understanding... Jane should take matters into her own hands....she would be better at it.

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According to the Economist, this case highlighted the secret agreement between Japan and Eisenhower in 1953 to not prosecute US military men who commited offences. Although jurisdiction was "returned" to Japan in 1960, in practice the Japanese authorities do not exercise it.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/australian-rape-victim-loses-court-case-againt-police-for-bungling-investigation

"But the reason why cases like Jane’s are not prosecuted may have less to do with incompetent police and more because of a secret agreement between America and Japan in 1953 that has recently come to light.

In September 2008, Shoji Niihara, a researcher on Japanese-American relations, uncovered previously classified documents in the U.S. National Archives. They show that in 1953, soon after Dwight Eisenhower assumed the presidency, John Foster Dulles, his secretary of state, embarked on a massive programme to get countries to waive their jurisdiction in cases of crimes by American servicemen.

On October 28th 1953, a Japanese official, Minoru Tsuda, made a formal declaration to the United States (not intended for public disclosure), stating, “The Japanese authorities do not normally intend to exercise the primary right of jurisdiction over members of the United States Armed Forces, the civilian component, or their dependents subject to the military law of the United States, other than in cases considered to be of material importance to Japan.”

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Japanese social skills and sympathy/empathy at work.... One word is enough....INEPT before we know it they will be "tackling" the problem...whatever it means to them...It will only make mattersz worse.

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Thank you to neverknow2! I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself. I am really glad Jane is pursuing this, and I am shocked to see how little progress has been made with regard to the Japanese police's attitude toward sex crimes. Years back the police suggested I had encouraged a persistent anonymous telephoner to get interested in me. He called so regularly they could have caught him at it easily, but they weren't interested in helping me. Ditto for the exhibitionist on a beach in Shizuoka Pref. I had witnesses and a way to identify the man and his friends, but all the police could say was, "Kuyashii desho." I see signs all over suburban Japan warning about sexual predators. I guess that's all anyone is doing about the problem.

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According to the ruling on November 26, the woman was raped by the serviceman after he got into her car in a car park in Yokosuka as she "left a bar in the early hours" of April 6, 2002.

She sustained injuries to her legs and chest that took about a week to heal.

The ruling determined that her statements throughout, and actions taken after the rape, were consistent.

It said the fact that no process for indictment had been undertaken did not affect the court's acknowledgement that she was raped.

The court rejected the serviceman's claim, saying his statements that they had consensual sex were unreasonable and not credible.

The Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office's Yokosuka branch decided against indicting the serviceman in July 2002.

The US Navy in October the same year came to the conclusion that a court-martial was not necessary.

This guy left japan, and was discharged from the military.

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There isn't much point in taking semen samples in rape cases because the perp will always claim that they had consensual sex. Doing so would only work if the perp said, "I didn't even touch her," which isn't very likely. It might make the victim feel like her report is being taken seriously, but there isn't really much point in doing it.

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Japanese police think they are still working for the bakufu. Well, 'think' might be a strong word to use here I guess ...

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Thank you, "Jane"! Your perseverence in this case is admirable and highly appreciated.

I wonder if the lawyer could direct supporters to a "legal fund". I can find a Nakano Mami (hiragana) Bengoshi Jimusho in Yotsuya 2-chome. No email address as of yet,...

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The headline reads like the victim bungled the investigation...

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She would have been better off going directly to the JAG on it. The Status of Forces Agreement basically says the the J-Cops can't arrest a US service person until charges are formally filed. The US isn't too keen on changing that unless a lawyer can be present during questioning.

If the J-Cops hadn't messed things up she could have gone after the guy in US Court too. Sad mess this whole thing is.

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BlackFlag -- exactly. And, as usual rjd_jr has his facts wrong (convenietly). The truth is that even though J-police did not pursue charges in the case he refers to, the U.S. military justice system did go after the guy -- as they have in several other similar cases. The issue here is the J-cops incompetence and the fact that the judge simply feels it would have been "preferrable" if they had paid the victim more "consideration". Talk about 19th-century thinking.

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Blackflag - not a truer word has been spoken on this site today. I'm sure your comment will get taken down in due time though.

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SO what does this story teach us?

Nothing, except that foreigners can get away with raping other foreigners and being rest assured that the cops will do all within their power to fudge up everything.

Just another thing for us to add to the list of "things that will never change in Japan in our lifetime" list.

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rjd standard modus operandi here. ridiculous comment, down in flames, no response.

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A foregone conclusion,

RAPE - Its like saying hello in Japan.

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rjd:

The fact is the police acted in a very amateurish way and screwed up - they're not fit to protect society from criminals and you are always trying to push the blame onto someone else (some foreign element) when a Japanese is at fault.

You should be ashamed of yourself. As the lawyer says, no wonder other victims don't report rape cases. And rape is rape, no matter what the criminal's or victim's nationality. Just be lucky that police in your country (on the other side of the Pacific) treat rape more seriously.

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I hope to God I'm never involved in a serious incident in this country and have to deal with these boobs that they call policemen.

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As somebody said earlier, "a foregone conclusion." God forbid that the Japanese authorities admit liability for anything. Let's face it, this woman does not have much of a chance in a country whose authorities are still trying to deny responsibility for events that happened 60 years ago involving other Japanese. The case that comes to mind is the so-called Yokohama incident. Moreover, the woman's arguments about a failure to keep samples are fundamentally flawed because they are based on the premise that the Japanese police actually know how to run an investigation. Let's face it, police performance in general cannot be that high if it takes them 3 months to frame a suspect in a child murder case (earlier this week).

Moreover, I don't understand the mentality of the Japanese government in stepping in and paying hush money. The US national in this case who commited this heinous crime should be the person paying any monies. If he cannot, then I suppose their is a certain duty of care lying with his employer at the time in question, the US military. All in all, a shoddy performance all round.

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rjd_jr: " remember another rape case reported here on JT, the victim was a young Japanese girl and the perpetrator was a 37 year old Marine. The Jp "justice" system did not prosecute his case further. Not many people had a problem with that, and some here in fact questioned the account of the young girl and sided with the Marine."

All that hot wind and yet not a SINGLE word of reprimand towards the Japanese police on this matter. Does that mean you side with them when they were clearly in the wrong?

As to your argument that no one is taking this up with the US military, first and foremost that's not really the issue on this thread. Secondly, I'll bet you a year's salary that on the thread you talk about (Japanese girl raped by US serviceman) there were FAR MORE people condemning said service person than siding with him, and more than a few condemning the US military as a whole. The people defending the man were more than likely limited to three or four posters on this site who have since changed handles.

rjd.... the fact is that the Japanese police are woefully behind the times when it comes to treating cases like this properly, let alone the victims. They punish women who come forward by putting them in 'uncomfortable positions', stigmatizing them, and in many cases finding a way to make them feel guilty for what happened before the victims finally leave without anything being done. It's sick, and it needs to change.

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She thought she would win here with a plea of the police bungling the investigation? If people were set free everytime the police in Japan messed up an investigation, there would be a hell of a lot more people out on the streets.

rjd - I think the case you are referring to is the Hadnott case back in February which was dropped, I believe due to a lack of evidence. You might want to check your facts too before claiming rape on that case as the deputy prosecutor in charge of the case in Naha said that no sex had occurred very early on in that inevstigation.

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It's rather remarkable that the assailant actually managed to avoid both the local justice system as well the UCMJ. It would a really nice gesture if the USN did all it could to locate the him after all he committed this crime while in USN uniform.

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Wait a minute, why isn't anyone so far questioning what the U.S. military did in this case? Isn't the accused rapist, as a uniformed member of the United States, subject to scrutiny by military authorities?

I remember another rape case reported here on JT, the victim was a young Japanese girl and the perpetrator was a 37 year old Marine. The Jp "justice" system did not prosecute his case further. Not many people had a problem with that, and some here in fact questioned the account of the young girl and sided with the Marine.

Now hopefully some people here will start to ask why the U.S. military didn't do anything, and while the conduct of the Jp "police" here is reprehensible, let's keep things in perspective shall we?

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Wow! The J-cops being unprofessional and bungling a case? Hard to believe, not! Hope ya get your compensation Jane, but you are an outsider, so don't expect too much.

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Incredible person, if there's any way of supporting her JT, is there a contact, blog or??

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I wonder if anything has changed, or is the police investigative method the same? If practices have not changed, Jane is doing all women in Japan a big service, and shame on the court.

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A foregone conclusion, but hopefully some international media attention will help the J-justice system to take a closer look at itself.

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