crime

U.S. military lifts some restrictions on sailors in Japan

36 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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36 Comments
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Already? wow, that was fast

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Over the murder, the japanese government is blaming the wrong entity. They should really be going after the DOD civilians in general. I understand the DUI punishment on the troops but this blanket punishment on the troops for the murder is wrong. I wonder if the civilians escaped this punishment. They probably did.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

dang, that was fast,,, getting the shakes already?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hang on. Friday's coming!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wow, really shows the US commitment to clearing up there name with the locals. It should have lasted at least a month if they were serious.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

They are only allowed to leave the base for now, but they still are not allowed drink. Maybe they should use a buddy system to keep each other in check. Good luck guys. It doesn't take long for a last straw to break the camel's back.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The arrest took up a significant part of a Japan-U.S. summit that was held a week later, causing President Barack Obama to apologize.

Let's quit with the exaggeration here and making it sound like "this" time consuming meeting (it wasn't) was the cause of the apology, it wasn't either.

under which the handover of suspects accused of crimes while on duty or on base to Japanese authorities is not compulsory.

Under the SOFA the suspects are not able to leave the island if under suspicion of a crime, called legal-hold, and ARE turned over to the Japanese police when indicted. Indict or charge the suspect officially and the US WILL and DOES turn over suspects. The way this is worded here makes it seem like something totally different. If the Japanese police have a specific suspect, they make their requests through the proper channels and the person is held until the issue is cleared, either way.

And why is this? Japanese police are not the greatest at gathering evidence and rely too much on confessions to convict their "suspects"

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Brian William Meissner Get your facts straight. Kenneth Shinzato was not a DOD Civilian. He was a contractor working for a company that provides cable TV and internet services to the base. DOD Civilians and contractors are two totally different entities. There are two reasons why he is making headlines, one he is a former Marine who just happened to be stationed in Okinawa when he was active duty and two his company provides services to the base.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A glance at the litany of crimes reveals a correlation between U.S. military action in Asia and violence directed against women in Okinawa. During the Vietnam War era, 17 women were murdered by military personnel who were on R and R leave, were training for combat, or were somehow already involved in the war effort, which in Okinawa included daily B-52 sorties originating from Kadena Air Force Base. Eleven of the victims worked serving soldiers as bar hostesses or sauna attendants - occupations that helped keep the GIs happy and thus maintained their willingness to kill in other Asian countries. It was in this way that the military's violence in Southeast Asia - often initiated in Okinawa - boomeranged back to Japan's remote island prefecture, where Okinawan women became the victims of deadly attack.

Suzuyo Takazato, a member of the Naha city assembly and a longtime women's activist in Okinawa, has made it her lifework to educate people about militarism and violence against women and to organize concerned citizens around the issue. Speaking at a demonstration after the rape of the 12-year-old schoolgirl, she denounced the idea that all U.S. soldiers needed was a little more sensitivity training: "Education does not help because the military itself is a form of structural violence. A soldier may be a good son to his mother, or a good husband to his wife. However, once he is integrated into the military, he...is trained to inflict violence.... Teaching humanity in the military is a gross contradiction. The military is a place for teaching brutality."

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Should we still relax rules for sailors?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is called "collective punishment", and it is wrong in any "so-called democracy".

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Jel Merd, I just wanted to say that once an individual joins the military, U.S. mil. that is, one no longer is in a democracy. One is then under the UCMJ. Uniform Code of Military Justice One is said to defend democracy but it doesn't apply to you like it would civilians.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Gradually military personnel will get all necessary facilities and business as usual !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is called "collective punishment", and it is wrong in any "so-called democracy"

This is where everyone and anyone not ever involved in the military needs to teach themselves that the military is NOT a democracy. A military is by nature a benevolent, most times, dictatorship, and it can not be run as a democracy as their is a rank structure that does not all orders to be decided by public opinion.

Everyone in the military today made a conscious choice to join, everyone who joins must realize that they left their civil rights, for the most part, at the gate of the training center and wont get them back until they quit or retire.

It's the nature of the game, dont like it, dont join. But dont feel sorry for them either, they made the choice and they will deal with the consequences. And btw I know what I am talking about, I am former military too!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Agree, with Yubaru.

In my country we still do have conscription, pity most countries dropped it IMHO.

Once in the military the 'i/Me' no longer matters, you need to work/function as a coherent Unit and be sure you can count on them as they can count on you to have their backs/support.

Not something easily understood, hence the discipline, etc. Remember the weakest link breaks the chain and who wants to be it?

Remember as Yubaru said for most it is a conscious decision, most Units got an equivalent to "Hell Week", Marines is easier and shorter than Navy Seals.

Basics are not fun, I did 8 weeks with no liberty, etc tough when you are 18 and can't see your Gf, Family or even leave the base. Basics equals constant Drills that wear you down but still nothing compared to what you face later on.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All the US military members should be confined to their bases, at all times, and places like Tama Hills Recreation Center in Tokyo (ever seen that place? A crime that such a wonderful space in Tokyo is reserved solely for US military, SOFA, and JSDF) should be turned over to the public.

-4 ( +3 / -6 )

One major fact that the media is failing to report is that Shinzato was a permanent resident, employed by a Japanese company.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

TheTiger and Suzuyo Takazato are very right.

Aspects of military life such as hell week and basics, the lost of I/Me distinction, dictatorship, loss of civil rights, willingness to kill, the harsh "last straw" aspects, should make us, or at least the military aware of the connection between armies and violence.If Japan had won WW2 and occupied parts of US there would be Japanese grunts doing bad things in that alternative reality. I think that "troops abroad leads to violence" is a given.

Opinions may diverge more upon whether there is any need for US troops in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -3 )

As the Rule of Law of both the USA and Japan are the same in that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Law, I fail to understand why there are any restrictions at all, at this point in time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Re; Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, who has demanded that the central government do more to reduce the military burden on the southern islands, called the crime “extremely inhuman and dastardly” and “unforgivable.”

Shame on Onaga to use this isolated incident that involves no military member. While it is true he works for a US contract company the same can be said it could very well have been a Japanese contract company as well. Either way jobs are jobs and the base itself should not be blamed. The US Forces Commander should not have apologized and the apology itself should have come from the Ambassador's office i.e.US Embassy and offer the apology on behalf of the US government and people not the base itself.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Oh sure, the policy is breaking down, but don't assume it is from pressure on the US side. Sailors getting the shakes? Not hardly.

I would suspect that local mizu shobai powers that be are screaming UNCLE.... although they are not going to assume any responsibility for customers' behavior after leaving local bars, they sure do want that sweet sweet lucre. After losing about a full month of revenues, they are probably wondering how they are going to make it through the year without applying for government disaster assistance. They are hoping for a good typhoon season, I betcha.

It is always this way. Tijuana, Honolulu, the Phillipines, and one of these days, Havana. US servicemen support a special kind of economy that is not too pretty, but not as ugly as poverty.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The US should leave Japan...the Japanese hate us, let them defend themselves. As soon as they become fully responsible for their own defense they will see how sweet they had it under the US defense umbrella. Until then they will continue to hate us while relying on us. Let the Japanese on Okinawa figure out how to defend themselves from China. Maybe they want to be part of that totalitarian state...if so, let them go. The lives of US service members should not be put on the line for a country that uses them as political fodder and who serve only as the raison d'etre around which so Japanese activist are focused. American lives are just not worth risking for a country like Japan that seems to want to have the best of both worlds. Let the Japanese figure out how to defend themselves while keeping their naive pacifist views. Bring our boys home and let's start focusing on our own defense. Leave Japan to its own...if they fall or become a puppet of China, that's their loss.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As soon as they become fully responsible for their own defense they will see how sweet they had it under the US defense umbrella.

Yup, the sad reality is that Japanese don't want to see their sons / daughters burdened by this. They want "peace" but at the price of hiding behind the US flag.

The security laws are a step in the right direction. Next, a normal military. And finally, a full pull-out of US forces.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

All bases out of Okinawa immediately. That is the solution.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

All bases out of Okinawa immediately. That is the solution.

Commenting here to a bunch of random people typing on a computer won't do anything. Go down there with a sign and face mask and start protesting pronto!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am sorry I think I was wrong above, and I think those that voted me down were right.

I had assumed that TheTiger and Suzuyo Takazato "are very right" to see a link between military presence and crimes against women for the reasons given in this thread.

The Japanese blog referenced in the Wikipedia article on the US military presence in Japan however, provides statistical evidence to the effect that the detected crime rate is 0.3% of the population for both Japan as a whole and Okinawa in particular but only .14% for US military. The blog concludes that US personnel's behaviour is "subarashii" -- exemplary. http://d.hatena.ne.jp/reservoir/20080214/1202958732

I see a slightly issue in that, I don't think that it is exactly the case that 0.3% of Japanese/Okinawans commit crimes, but rather criminality is concentrated -- there is repeat offence among an element of the Japanese population -- with the remainder being spread among the rest of the population. American military personnel do not get the opportunity to re-offend once they have been caught so the offence rate should be lower simply on this basis.

According to http://www.moj.go.jp/content/000010209.pdf 38.8% of the 140,000 offenders in Japan 2006 were repeat offenders, especially adolescent crime were more than 50% of offenders are repeat offenders, among adults 27% of offenders were repeat offenders (especially extortion, theft, and fraud where repeat offenders make up more than 40% of offenders).

Removing the crimes committed by the 27% of adult repeaters who would not be allowed to repeat and should not be in the military (ideally at least) , the crime rate among Japanese could be argued to be .3 x 100-27% = 0.219% which is 56% more (1.56 times) than that of the US military in Japan. If Japanese crime rather is reduced by the overall rather of repeaters, 0.3% x 100%-38.8% the offence rater is still 0.184% which is still 30% more than .14% for US millitary. I.e. Even excluding the criminal element of Japanese society, your averate Okinawan appears to be 30% more dangerous than your average US marine.

I will have a look at what Suzuyo Takazato (googable) has to say. I wonder what happens if one focuses upon crime against women. Re offence rates in Japan are low, and strangely low in the case of rape where it is include in "other crimes."

I still wish that the American military would go home, mind. The US are not here to protect the Japanese.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

A soldier may be a good son to his mother, or a good husband to his wife. However, once he is integrated into the military, he...is trained to inflict violence.... Teaching humanity in the military is a gross contradiction. The military is a place for teaching brutality."

Sure, those US military personnel were really brutal when the assisted in humanitarian and disaster relief operations during he Mar 2011 earthquke/tsunami and recent Kumamoto earthquake, not including all the other military personnel worldwide that support peacekeeping and HA/DR ops.

Stop the small-minded stereotyping and generalizations. .

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One major fact that the media is failing to report is that Shinzato was a permanent resident, employed by a Japanese company.

No, they are not failing to report it, they are making a conscious decision NOT to report it. There is a difference and the nuance is what matters. To report this would put a partial amount of blame or change the focus of the crime from the "bases" and "former Marine" to one of why a Japanese company would hire such an employee.

The media here, as I have commented too many times over the years, outright refuses to write or report on anything that would put blame on Japan, with a base related incident, on a Japanese person, or on anything that puts the military in a good or positive light.

People in Japan put too much trust in what the newspapers write, and people take whatever is written as being FACT. Even when it isn't. I have been criticized here countless times for making these comments against the media in Okinawa and pointing out their overt bias against the military and inaccuracy in reporting incidents to make things worse than reality. People have commented that the "Okinawan people " know and can discern between what is right and wrong, paraphrasing there, but it is IMPOSSIBLE to know when no one reports it.

Like this small fact too, not reported and never will be. Sad to say, but par for the course here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Will people who keep on saying that he was a Permanent Resident of Japan and worked for a Japanese Company at the time of his arrest please provide proof of that. I find it hard to believe that a person who had only been a civilian in Japan for 2 years or less would meet the requirements for being a Permanent Resident and also a person who works for a Japanese Company even if they have a contract on the base is not authorized SOFA Status. That the US Military apologized for the crime that he committed and placed restrictions on people because of that crime means that they acknowledge the fact that he was under SOFA Status and was their responsibility.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"An autopsy on the decomposed body could not determine the cause of death."

"Okinawa police said the suspect hit the woman on the head with a club, dragged her into the weeds and raped her, while strangling her and stabbing her with a knife."

So, the police and coroner's interpretation are at odds? Anyone seen anything that would reconcile them?

@timtak - Thanks for posting research on crime states, and your point about repeat offenders is well taken. However, a breakdown of figures for violent/sexual crime and crime in general need to be obtained to determine whether US servicemen/ex-servicemen are disproportionately charged w/ either type of crime, compared to their peers, or local residents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Need to dry out the alcoholics a little longer to flush them out. Tough love is always painful.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe they should use a buddy system to keep each other in check.

Like, in a gang?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On a page with

"Okinawa police said the suspect hit the woman on the head with a club, dragged her into the weeds and raped her, while strangling her and stabbing her with a knife."

The attempt to blame the Japanese media, or a Japanese company evokes in me the kind of sentiment aroused by the crime itself. Unbelievable.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Not surprisingly, there have been no crimes committed by the locals on Okinawa in at least a few years. Damn military. Everything is their fault.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The bases add incremental crime - crime that would not have happened if they did not exist, so the total crime would be less without them.

If the Okinawa crime rate is 0.3% and the base crime rate is 0.14%, the bases add almost 50% to the crime rate of Okinawa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Upon reflection, my use of "exemplary" on the same page beggars belief. Gross. I am sorry.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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