crime

Handgun reported stolen from U.S. military base at Camp Zama

43 Comments

Kanagawa prefectural police said Friday that an investigation has been launched into the suspected theft of a .38 caliber handgun from the U.S. Army base at Camp Zama.

Police say a U.S army serviceman placed an army-issued sidearm on his desk at 1 p.m. on March 25, before leaving the weapon unattended, TBS reported. Police said he returned to his desk two hours later to find the weapon, which was unloaded, had been taken.

Since the gun may have been taken off the base, the U.S. Army notified police the next day.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
Login to comment

It wasn't a 9mm M9? Or is it just being expressed it as 38 cal? Was this an issue weapon or personal? If this occurred on Camp Zama how is this Kanagawa Pref police jurisdiction? Just love articles that raise more questions than they answer.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

This incident is very troubling. The fact that the U.S. Army serviceman placed a weapon, albeit unloaded on his desk and left this weapon unattended for two hours demonstrates a mistake in judgement on the part of the U.S. Army servicman. Hopefully, this weapon will be recovered soon.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@OssanAmerica

It wasn't a 9mm M9? Or is it just being expressed it as 38 cal? Was this an issue weapon or personal? If this occurred on Camp Zama how is this Kanagawa Pref police jurisdiction? Just love articles that raise more questions than they answer.

If it was indeed a 38 cal as this story seems to indicate, it would probably belong to the Either CID or the Army's Civilian Equivalent to NCIS, (I don't know what their current agency name is..) they carry 38's.... Probably because of the hollow point ammo use.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Who cares what kind of gun it is? the point is that the gun is missing and it can now be brought outside fo the base ( if it allready havent been done ) and it might be used to commit crime and indanger innocent people. Seriously if people in Army leave their guns on the damn table than it just means that they do not need them.. -.- I am glad i live in Kyoto because if i was there i would be scared to walk on the streets at evening even more now.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

PS. It has to be taken by a US military person and not a civilian because. If it is than what kind of military it is if a civilian can infiltrate it...

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

PS. It has to be taken by a US military person and not a civilian because. If it is than what kind of military it is if a >civilian can infiltrate it...

Have you been to a military base before? Not everyone on a military base is a "military person", there are large numbers of civilians on base. Just like everyone in a hospital isn't a doctor, not everyone in a police station is a police officer, nor everyone in an airport a pilot. It is narrow minded to say that "it has to be taken by a military person".

14 ( +14 / -0 )

There is one thing we can all agree on: the soldier that lost this weapon is screwed.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Have you been to a military base before? Not everyone on a military base is a "military person", there are large numbers of civilians on base. Just like everyone in a hospital isn't a doctor, not everyone in a police station is a police officer, nor everyone in an airport a pilot. It is narrow minded to say that "it has to be taken by a military person".

The examples you are giving me are public places. Military base SHOULD NEVER BE A PUBLIC OPEN PLACE! and if it is than they are doing something wrong. So you want to tell me that i could go to a military base right now and walk around and no-one would care?

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

YurieYoshida, there are a lot of non-military personnel who work on military bases. It's common knowledge.

What's worrisome is the irresponsibility of the serviceman in this case.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Ok Surf i dont know about bases because i could not care less... In my personal opinion we do not need those bases in Japan. The thing is if you lived in a city and soemone reported that a gun was stolen from base and they have no clue who took it would you not be worried while walking down the street? would you not be scared that at any time that person can pull outt hat gun and you might be the one getting shot?

And what is going to happen to that person who missplaced hsi gun? I guarantee you that if he is " a high ranking officer " or some crap nothing will happen to him. He will be " oh well happens"

-25 ( +2 / -27 )

Yeah, whoever did this probably got some serious disciplinary action. Kind of foolish to leave anything so sensitive unattended.

@Yurie Yoshida So I guess all the guns the yakuza have we're stolen from US military bases? Do you even know why Japan has US bases in the first place? Do you remember a little thing called WWII?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I feel sorry for him. He gonna get in trouble big time.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Golly, where did I put my bazooka? It was here a minute ago.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Yurie Yoshida So I guess all the guns the yakuza have we're stolen from US military bases? Do you even know why Japan has US bases in the first place? Do you remember a little thing called WWII?

OH yah that thing that ended in 1945! Let go of the stupid past its 2013 damn it! Seriously thats why people cant let go and hold grudges against each other because you just see huge military bases placed there and guarded behind words " we are here because of WW2 that happened 70 years ago " might as well make a bill board and put it at the entrance.

And excuse me but i much rather have Yakuza carying a gun that some dumb soldier or civilian who will just blow someones brains out by accident.

-21 ( +2 / -23 )

'Trouble' is an understatement here, I think. Everyone knows that you don't leave your weapon unattended, it's one of the very first things you learn in training. If you don't have it on you, directly, it's in the armory. There is no putting it down for a sec. This guy... He's screwed. Depending on where the gun turns up, and in whose hands, he could be utterly screwed.

Regarding military bases and non-military workers... There are a lot of jobs civilians, both DoD and Japanese, do on the bases and ships (Japanese contractors do a lot of the overhaul work on ships at Yokosuka, for instance). It does take extensive checking to get one of those jobs, and visitors must have an escort unless it's some kind of base event (which happens on Yokosuka once or twice a year). That said, you can't just go wandering around in the areas where weapons are kept, not even as a military member. So, if this weapon was stolen, it's most likely military. That's probably the best case scenario for the serviceman. If it was a civvy that took the gun, especially a Japanese civvy... This guy is going to have one hell of a time.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

OH yah that thing that ended in 1945! Let go of the stupid past its 2013 damn it! Seriously thats why people cant let go and hold grudges against each other because you just see huge military bases placed there and guarded behind words " we are here because of WW2 that happened 70 years ago " might as well make a bill board and put it at the entrance.

And excuse me but i much rather have Yakuza carying a gun that some dumb soldier or civilian who will just blow someones brains out by accident.

Yes that's correct an event that happened 65 years ago or so still affects you today. That's what happens when you lose a major war. Someday the U.S. will leave and someday we'll end up coming back or someone else will take our place like China or Russia. We never truly learn from history because people just can't let go.

Yes, a dumb soldier or civilian will just accidentally blow someones brains out because that has happened here before. You probably have a better chance of dying in some disturbing way here in Japan than getting shot by that weapon.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Unless the theif has underworld contacts, or has previously stolen ammo. They will find it hard to load this weapon, making it at present a scary hammer at best. Better to buy a BB replica available at toy shops across Japan...they really sting. Getting a box of .38 ammo perhaps requires a second theft, and a new opportunity to apprehend this Lex Luther. I am fairly confident that the theif will be apprehended as access to these areas are controlled limited to hundreds at best and simply checking the records of base entry at least gives a idea of suspects.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yurie? You would much rather that a criminal had the gun? really? What kind of statement is that?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Yurie, you're funny

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People, settle down....

The serviceman/woman who left it there would probably be charged for their carelessness....and that is putting it lightly.. If it was a civilian (Japanese or American) who took it then that too would carry a hefty charge I am sure. Either way someone will pay for this mess up.

My guess is that it may have been picked up by another serviceman/woman and probably lodged somewhere.

Yurie, I would much rather a firearm in the hands of someone trained to use it for a specific purpose than someone in organised crime, think about your comment.

In any case the US has done the right thing by notifying the local authorities...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well, the only things that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. If only there was a good guy with a gun at that.. oh yeah

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What ridiculous reactions....a single unloaded handgun is loose! Everyone in the country should quake in fear...I'm staying inside under my bed until it's found. But the hundreds of weapons the Yaks likely have...not to worry. Hysterical hoplophobia is funny to watch....and so easy to set of here.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Agree jansob1, reactions seem a bit over the top, especially in a country where you can buy replica/BB guns which look just like the real thing...and I am sure the local gangs would have a few of their own too..

I note moderator that I did have a comment which seems to have been edited out in my previous post...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And as usual, there are so few details that it's hard to make any judgments. How limited was access to the base? Is it an area that people have to sign in to get to? Seems like there should be a list of people to question about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes that's correct an event that happened 65 years ago or so still affects you today. That's what happens when you lose a major war. Someday the U.S. will leave and someday we'll end up coming back or someone else will take our place like China or Russia. We never truly learn from history because people just can't let go.

Oh i see how you think. that a war that happened 68 years ago caused by lets say our gradfathers and grandmothers ( Not just Japanese but everywhere ) and now new generation has to suffer just because America is afraid of every tiny thing? And seriously the way you put it sounds like it was a damn competition for you " OH WE WON SO I CAN NOW SEND MY ARMY INTO YOUR HOME LAND! YAY!"

Another thing, its easy to read these news and be like " ahh they will be fine! " while you sit in another country or another city. but you guys never think about how a person feels when they live in a place where a crime just happened or where something like this happens. For example if i heard someone getting stabbed in Kyoto and the guy/girl is still on loose i would be afraid to walk around that area.

And yes my Yakuza comment was bad and i said it because if a civilian took it 60-70% of Japanese live and die without seeing a real weapon with their own eyes let alone using it. Now even if it is unloaded and if it has no bullets or is not ready to fire that 70% of people wouldnt know a difference maybe even more. Even with unloaded gun you can give someone a good fright or rob a store or even worse.

In my opinion there should be no guns at all. if all guns disapeared it would be better than having them. Damn i better have swords and katanas back again than guns. Thats how i feel. And you can downvote me all you want not that it matters to be but if you dont live in that area where there is that base and you are not a Japanese civilian you cant understand how they feel because you guys are not even trying to.

I said all i wanned to say Good day for everyone.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

They thought me to never leave my weapon in the marines,guess the army is different.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Reminds me of the Japanese police officer who forgot his LOADED gun in the toilet. Come to think of it, cops have lost their guns (badges, batons, etc.) more than once in publicly accessible places.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It would appear that the weapon was probably taken by another military person who could have access to the area of the desk and not an off base person.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would not be surprised if this gun shows up on base very soon. I'll be waiting to read that story. Lost gun found on base.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yurie, you sound a little confused in your posts. You said you don't care about the bases because they don't concern you, but then you are really involved in this story concerning bases. You don't want US bases in Japan because you believe it is unnecessary since WWII was 68 years ago. Japan's constitution does not allow it to have an offensive military, only a self defense force. Look at JSDF, do you think they are capable in defending against all the threats in the Pacific? It would be impossible. It is far more advantageous to Japan to allow USA to defend the country.

The comment about preferring criminals to having guns that military members was pretty ridiculous. You obviously have no idea what armed criminals are capable of.

I respect Japanese culture and how they are capable of maintaining a mostly gun free society. As an American, I envy the safety and the low crime rates when I visit Japan, I never feel danger when walking the streets. That is not the same in America where its beneficial to be armed all the time. But I don't think the city around that base needs to rivet in fear over one missing gun.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yurie YoshidaMar. 30, 2013 - 06:14PM JST Oh i see how you think. that a war that happened 68 years ago caused by lets say our gradfathers and grandmothers >( Not just Japanese but everywhere ) and now new generation has to suffer just because America is afraid of every >tiny thing? And seriously the way you put it sounds like it was a damn competition for you " OH WE WON SO I CAN >NOW SEND MY ARMY INTO YOUR HOME LAND! YAY!"

The comment that was made to you about WWII was stupid and so is your response. The presence of US forces in Japan has much much more to do with post-war global and Japanese developments than WWII. Japan willfully chose to enter the US-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1960 and for 53 years it has successfully kept the peace, and no nation has started a war with Japan. Please try to see this in perspective.

yes my Yakuza comment was bad

Yes it ws and glad we're past that.

In my opinion there should be no guns at all. if all guns disapeared it would be better than having them. Damn i better >have swords and katanas back again than guns. Thats how i feel. And you can downvote me all you want not that it >matters to be but if you dont live in that area where there is that base and you are not a Japanese civilian you cant understand how they feel because you guys are not even trying to.

Guns only do what bladed weapons do , only better. Read your own history of the use of the matchlocks by Hideyoshi to the use of Spencer Rifles by the Aizu clan. If you think for a moment that "guns" haven't played an enormous role in Japanese history you are mistaken. As for you wishing all guns disappeared, that's fine. I wish I didn't have to work for a living.

I said all i wanned to say Good day for everyone.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The solder who screwed-up is going to be punished - no doubt about that as the military takes a pretty hardline on their members who loose government property (Article 108 - loss of military property). The question that'll be determined at the solder's court hearing - was was this intentional or an act of negligence. If intentional (which I doubt) - the worst punishment would be jail time for a year, a bad conduct discharge, and forfeiture of pay for a year.

Most likely what'll happen is the solder will get an Article 15 from his commanding officer (his platoon leader), which will typically consist of confinement on the base for a period of time (if the individual is not married and lives off post), a reduction in rank, and forfeiture of pay in the amount of replacing the firearm. Hopefully the firearm can be found and the political fallout can be minimized.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just leave your gun on desk and walk away for two hours.... Inside job and bet he sold it to someone....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yurie Yoshida

Ok Surf i dont know about bases because i could not care less...

Hmm. An odd comment from someone who's already posted six times on this thread...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OssanAmerica

It wasn't a 9mm M9? Or is it just being expressed it as 38 cal? Was this an issue weapon or personal?

They don't issue 38s any more. The only use I'm aware of for them at a base like Camp Zama would be for Military Working Dog (MWD/K-9) training where they're used with blanks to get the dogs accustomed to gunfire.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

USNinJapan2 - Interesting, I didn't know .38s weren't issued anymore. I was thinking the .38 might have been issued to a pilot, most likely a helo pilot being from Zama.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

USNinJapan2- thanks for that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The gun was used for training and only blanks for it was kept. The .38 was use to train their police dogs to get use to gun fire. was not issued to anyone. sorta like a training tool, but still its a gun. If the person got ammo for it they can use it as a real weapon. As the likey hood of it being used in a crime? eh not likely IMO. The person who took it problaby thought it was a cool gun and kept it for themself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BoreToTears

I'm pretty certain that the .38 (as a service pistol) was replaced by the M9 and M11 for all U.S. branches several decades ago. I personally have never run into anyone, pilot or otherwise, carrying one as a service pistol.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How easy is it to get this sort of bullet ammo to the gun in Japan? Pretty hard I would think if you are not military. Even at a shooting range, don't they ask you to leave the empty cartridges at the front?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

$hit happens, and this army dude from camp zama will be in a world of $hit! Stupid to leave weapons unattended, wow! Some guy took my gun! Surprise! Surprise NOT! All it takes is 1 bad apple to ruin it for the others, do hope they found the thief. ASAP

1 ( +1 / -0 )

First of all its either a very stupid guy cause your never suppose to leave ANY arms unattended or unsecure at any time. Or it was just like said above someone deliberately set it up to be taken and yes it does go to the Yakuza. .38 are rare in the military. A sidearm was taken from a securtiy gate officer in Okinawa awhile back. He was attacked knocked unconscious and his gun was taken. The attack was aimed at taking his fire arm while he was alone at a desolate gate. that gate is now closed indefinately due to that kind of security risk.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ jansob1

What ridiculous reactions....a single unloaded handgun is loose!

If you think this is bad, watch what happens when the SDF loses a few bullets. They put everybody on the search.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites