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Japanese security guards at U.S. military base carried loaded guns on public road in Nagasaki

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Even in a car you are in public, so they've been in violation of the law for quite some time.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Why are they requesting anything? Remind them the first time that it’s a violation (anyone can make a mistake) and if it continues take proper legal action.

Why the kid-glove treatment?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Cops carry loaded weapons on the streets. I don’t see a problem as these guys have to undergo an intensive weapons training course in the US after being hired.

I’d say they are more weapons-proficient than the average cop.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Essentially they are just crossing the public road from one fenced enclosure to another. By law they have to remove all the live bullets each time.

Surely with a little imagination they could work out some satisfactory solution.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

It's not just Sasebo, do a quick check of some of the bases down here and no one would be surprised to hear it is happening here too.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Good thing those guns didn't get away from the guards and hurt somebody!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This has to be coming under scrutiny now because of the recent suicide by a US military member who took a loaded weapon with him off base and shot himself.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This has to be coming under scrutiny now because of the recent suicide by a US military member who took a loaded weapon with him off base and shot himself.

Sensationalizing anything with US Military is easy click bait from certain groups here which is nice revenue for News Outlets. -_-

It's a shame that mountains are made out of mole hills. They're trained personnel for goodness sakes.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I bet from now on they'll be crowds of old men and women with protest signs along that very very short route

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Chip Star

No, inside a vehicle the firearms carried by these guards are not visible and were deemed long ago to be 'not in public' by bilateral agreement. That's why it's been the accepted standard procedure across U. S. Forces bases throughout Japan for many decades. The SOFA does actually permit Japanese security guards to transit between base facilities on foot while armed, but with certain stipulations/exceptions. In this case the U.S. side evidently reinterpreted the SOFA for this situation, albeit for a very isolated case and a very short distance, without consultation with the Japanese side and altered the status quo. That's why this has become an issue.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Essentially they are just crossing the public road from one fenced enclosure to another. By law they have to remove all the live bullets each time. 

Surely with a little imagination they could work out some satisfactory solution.

Lemme think... they could remove all the live bullets each time!

Cops carry loaded weapons on the streets,  I don’t see a problem 

The problem is that the police are licensed to carry, these US employees are not.

They're trained personnel for goodness sakes.

They should train them to obey the law.

*the Japanese government repeatedly requesting ....The guards were ordered by the U.S. military*

Whose country is this?

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I bet from now on they'll be crowds of old men and women with protest signs along that very very short route

No that's just down here in Okinawa, where a wrong u-turn caused the media to have apoplexy!

By law they have to remove all the live bullets each time. 

So what do they do with the "dead" bullets!

The problem is that the police are licensed to carry, these US employees are not.

They are not "US Employees" they are hired and paid by the Japanese defense agency and are working under the US military. And the problem is that ONLY Japanese police are licensed to carry sidearms OFF BASE.

They are not US employees!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

So you think it is a good idea for the guards to go down the public street with unloaded guns? If I want a gun, I now know a easy person to take it from!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They are not "US Employees" they are hired and paid by the Japanese defense agency and are working under the US military.

It's the US military that is ordering them to break the law. The fine print would seem to indicate that they are working for the US military, regardless of who foots the bill for their wages.

What would be the reaction if the shoe were on the other foot? US citizens in the US being ordered by a Japanese company to repeatedly and openly break US law, and the US government meekly requesting that they don't?

So you think it is a good idea for the guards to go down the public street with unloaded guns?

I don't see the point in them carrying guns at all. They are not police officers. If the US military think they should have guns on base, then set up a system where they can leave their guns when they exit the base, and pick up other guns when they enter the vehicle inspection facility. Though why on earth they need loaded guns in a vehicle inspection facility beats me.

In fact why they need guns at all on base is a mystery. Aren't those bases safe? Is any lunatic with a gun allowed in?

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

In fact why they need guns at all on base is a mystery. Aren't those bases safe? Is any lunatic with a gun allowed in?

They require them protect property. They have weapons to ensure things like equipment, weapons, and documents critical to American and Japanese national security cannot be stolen.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In fact why they need guns at all on base is a mystery. Aren't those bases safe? Is any lunatic with a gun allowed in?

The bases are safe because they are guarded by men with guns.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Just loop in the 60m public road... Or station then at the other building lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Yaki told me, the easiest way to get a gun in japan, is to run these guys over.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Further evidence of our quasi-colonial status vis a vis the US. Maybe we should apply for statehood.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The bases are safe because they are guarded by men with guns.

If the perimeter and gates are properly guarded, and only authorised personnel allowed in, there should be no need for anyone else on base to have guns. Who do they think they're protecting themselves and their equipment from?

Any takers on what the response would be if a Japanese company in the US were to order people to break US laws?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

These are Japanese contractors not US nationals. They are not under SOFA so that does not come into play here. What about the Alsok security guys? They are private security and they carry guns. FACP are no different. Another non-issue blown up by an overzealous media.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

What about the Alsok security guys? They are private security and they carry guns. 

Private security companies in Japan are not allowed to carry guns. Alsok and Secom security guards only carry batons and/or mace. No security personnel have guns. I guarantee that. (My wife is a Japanese cop).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A few points that need clarification:

These Japanese Master Labor Contract security guards are employed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense. However, they report only to U.S. Forces Japan who controls their every action provided they are within the bilaterally agreed position descriptions. These guards' duties include standing the same sentry posts at base entry control points as U.S. active duty security personnel and being armed similarly to their U.S. counterparts. They are not glorified doormen as some have claimed above, but also conduct armed foot and vehicle patrols and are an integral part of base defense, antiterrorism, and force protection programs.

Security personnel, both U.S. and Japanese, can only arm up (up load) or be disarmed (down load) at the armory where all weapons are maintained and issued. For obvious safety reasons, removing rounds from weapons while out in the field as has been suggested, is not possible nor practical. Sometimes there are more than one armory per base at a larger satellite facility, but this is not the case here. There is no way for these guards to walk unarmed to the vehicle inspection area in question and then be rearmed once there in order to stand their post.

Although these guards do not have SOFA status per se as U.S. Forces do, the SOFA actually does play a critical role in this issue because the SOFA defines how U.S. Forces can and cannot operate, train, defend their facilities, etc. It clearly states that, yes, Japanese security guards may step off the bases on foot while openly armed as long as they are transiting to another U.S. facility to conduct their authorized duties, such as responding to emergencies or conducting watch reliefs, but also stipulates certain conditions, limitations, and coordination requirements. It's on some of these details that the U.S. and the Japanese sides have found themselves in disagreement here. Most post rotations for these guards at bases throughout Japan are carried out using vehicles because the distances involved preclude doing them on foot, however there are precedents to this being carried out on foot at other bases legally and with bilateral concurrence.

Are these Japanese civilian security guards permitted or licensed by Japanese law to carry firearms out on a Japanese street? No. Does the SOFA permit the U.S. Forces to require them to do exactly that in the line of duty under certain circumstances? Yes. At the end of the day, this is a legal agreement between two nations written purposefully in a non-specific way to be adapted and applied differently at the local level, so it's really no wonder that the lawyers on either side interpret it differently from time to time, this being one of them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Any takers on what the response would be if a Japanese company in the US were to order people to break US laws?

So you’re asking if Japanese company in the US had American employees that were allowed to carry something here and allowed to carry something there but not allowed to carry it in between and they did anyway? No one would care.

Or are you thinking more specific, like if a Japanese company had American security guards carrying guns in public. Oh wait, that’s... legal.

So in other words, this is a total non-issue.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So you’re asking if Japanese company in the US had American employees that were allowed to carry something here and allowed to carry something there but not allowed to carry it in betweenand they did anyway? No one would care.

No, I'm asking what would happen if a Japanese company in the US ordered its American workers to break US law.

this is a total non-issue

Unauthorised people walking round with loaded guns in public is not a 'non-issue'.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Cleo has a valid point, it is no more acceptable for a US organisation to require employees to those under its control to break the law than it would be for a Japanese organisation to do the same in the US. The law of a country is the responsibility of the sovereign state, its interpretation is the responsibility of that states courts. If the agreement or treaty is not sufficiently clear that does not over rule the appropriate laws of the sovereign state, those laws apply until and unless the parties agree an abrogation of those laws and the circumstances wherein such shall apply.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The SOFA is a bilaterally signed document that exists precisely in order to enable U.S. Forces to operate without being hindered by Japanese domestic laws. It's the condition that Japan willingly accepts for having a treaty ally station military forces within its borders with the two missions of co-defending Japan and contributing to regional stability. Why is it so hard for some of you to understand this? A case like this involving the SOFA isn't black and white but open to often conflicting interpretation. That's why the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee meets routinely to deliberate its application with the purpose of reaching a concensus.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I still remember how American military was able to flee to the bases and out of the country. Smith it natural for a countries laws to be superior in their own countries. How would you like to follow Japanese law in the USA? Then again the USA insists that people follow their laws in all countries.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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