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U.S. likely to bar Japanese investigators from interviewing warship crew, official says

By Tim Kelly

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Surprise surprise, I think everyone expected this as soon as the news broke of the collision. It's unfortunate they treat the sailors' families with such contempt and disrespect

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Burning BushJuly 1 12:31 pm JST

USN, the law does not force to the Navy to bar Japanese investigators, it merely gives them to option to do so.

Personally, I can fully understand this decision. The decision is whether sovereignty immunity or national secrets are worth defending. If they concede this time, they set a precedent, which can be used against them if for example the next collision occurred close to Chinese shores and the Chinese Coast Guard wants the right to investigate them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Burning BushJuly 2  06:51 am JST

The funny thing is, in the picture of the ship we can see at least half a dozen gimmicky space-age pods that you'd think would at least have the capability of noticing a 30,000 ton freighter.

Not all Radomes are navigation related.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Ghost rider: exactly what I thought. I am happy someone remembered that tragedy, and the indecent coverup. Here in Italy we don't forget La Strage del Cermis.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That will end up in a coverup as in the Cavalese cable car disaster (1998).

2 ( +4 / -2 )


Japan post Fitzgerald is now like Okinawa, a colony of them Amerikanos!

Funny thing is if this happened in Ryukyuan waters , Suga and Abe would threaten Onaga with strangulation if the Okinawan authorities would insist on investigating the collision!

At least , unlike the docile Japanese who are still victims of the Stockholm syndrome, the Ryukyuan people still have the spirit and courage to shout to the whole world that Okinawa is not part of Japan, USA!

Of course Shinzo Wayne and Yoshihide Mitchum will speak for their Amerikano masters and deny the fact that Okinawa is not the Crimea of Asia!

After the Fitzgerald incident, indeed it's evident that Japan is now the Crimea of Asia and Okinawa is not part of Japan!

Say it ain't so , PM Abe!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

i thought japan has a 200km zone? didn't these deaths occur about 56km? it happened in japan.

You are referring to the exclusive economic zones, a countries a territory only extends about 12 nautical miles out. The exclusive economic zones are out to 370 km, owners of those zones can't prohibit loitering or passage in this area by other nations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Typical COVERUP.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Makes one wonder if the responsibility of this situation is worse than the initial foolishness. Seems to be a great distraction for the TEPCO court case however (similar case in foolishness/responsibility)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is this a news story? The headline is that the US will 'likely' bar Japanese from interviewing the crew. Not really any news unless they actually do bar it so maybe say that they intent to. That said, I don't see what the big deal is to allow the JTSB direct access to the Fitzgeralds crew.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wonder Why were they stoned on the Bridge and wanted to play Chicken or was it the other ships Captain that was.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wonder how the families of the deceased feel about this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

i thought japan has a 200km zone?

The 200km zone is the Exclusive Economic Zone (fishing, oil/gas drilling, etc.), it isn't Territorial waters. Territorial waters extend 12km, after that ships passing through are considered in International waters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As no Japanese were involved I doubt the Japanese side will make much of a fuss.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

American attitudes towards international relations and international cooperation are reminiscent of George Orwell's Animal Farm. "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others".

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It should also be mentioned that under COLREGS - International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, when two ships collide, they are both considered at fault, if one is anchored, they still are somewhat to blame! The blame will be given out in the way Japanese traffic laws are, in percentages, even if it is .01% or 99.9%, everyone involved must accept some responsibility, so don't be surprised if they don't lay 100% of the blame on either side.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@usinjapan. if what you say is true, we have to abandon SOFA. 7 people died, and 300million bucks lost. i respect diplomatic immunity, but, 40000+ young bucks in a foreign country must respect Japanese sovereignty.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The fact that sailors were still in their bunks would seem to me to say that no collision alarm was sounded, and in my opinion the OOD was incompetent, But the CO will pay for for having an incompetent OOD. The CO should have been informed if a Ship was within 5 nautical miles, that is my understanding at least. I guess we will have to see what the Navy releases after their investigation.

Careers are over, so many lives are ruined, and worst of all, people died. The Navy, all US military for that matter, has always been like this when it comes to investigating their own, and SOFA gives them that right here. It is actually a better system now than it used to be, it may not seem fair, but that is what the governments agreed to, so we have to live with it.

I may not agree with how the Navy has handled the matter, but I know that with all the coverage that this has had people will pay the price, we may not be told what happens to whom, but they will pay. The USS Porter had a similar accident on Aug. 12 2012 and the CO was relieved of command on Aug. 30 after an admiral's mast, a form of non-judicial punishment, so no jail time. I don't ever remember anyone getting any jail time for an accident involving a Navy ship, so that will not happen, in my opinion.

It just seems so odd to me that so many people seemed not to be doing their job. Even if it comes out that the Crystal was somehow at fault, which I doubt, the OOD and CO will hold a lot of responsibility for what happened, in my opinion! The Captain has the ultimate responsibility for the ship and its crew, and their actions.

This is just my opinion!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is good that Japanese and Philippine investigators are locked out. They would only be in a witch hunt anyway. The movements of any US navy vessel are strictly logged and the cause of the accident will be determined by the six investigations, which will be impossible to cover up.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

William Bjornson, the track of the Crystal shows a gentle port turn first, where perhaps they were aiming to cross after the stern of the Fitzgerald, which is in line with an earlier statement by the C's captain.

Then there is a 90 degree turn to starboard, impossible for a container vessel unless helped by bouncing off something like another ship. Perhaps it was the realization that the Fitzgerald had slowed, putting her in the direct path of the container ship, that caused the Crytal crew to start flashing their lights, too late. (?)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Goodlucktoyou, Toasted Heretic

The Navy needs to comply with the law. The law is the Status Of Forces Agreement between Japan and the U.S., which clearly stipulates that jurisdiction is wholly the U.S.'. The vessel is sovereign United States territory and what it does within Japanese territorial waters is beyond the jurisdiction of domestic Japanese law as any incident occurring within the U.S. Embassy or any of the consulates in Japan would also not be within the jurisdiction of Japanese investigators or prosecutors. Your problem is with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the accompanying SOFA, not with the U.S. Navy and how it is abiding by existing laws.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

It seems that more critical weaknesses of the warship would be dislosed if the Japan's investigation were allowed.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Japanese are little more than pets of the US and will do as they are told.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Disturbing. The navy needs to comply.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

i thought japan has a 200km zone? didn't these deaths occur about 56km? it happened in japan.

if the american navy doesn't comply with japan in the investigation of deaths of people, then all warships from america should be banned from Japanese waters. it is not just politics, it is lives of seven young people.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

ShermanToday  07:34 am JST

It happened outside territorial water, so why should Japan stick their nose in?

It was the US Navy that requested assistance from the JCG. They didn't refuse claiming it's outside territorial waters. Most Coast Guards, including the USCG have jurisdiction on the high seas. It also involved a USN vessel home ported in Japan and a merchant vessel destined for a Japanese discharge port.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

"A Seventh Fleet spokesman said the navy would "share information in accordance with protocols.""

Translation: Lying and obfuscation. This is all we've seen from the U.S. military (exMarine here) since at least the Pearl Harbor hoax. Vietnam was a joke and all subsequent attacks on weaker nations have been almost famous for obvious lies from our military, mostly for the home folks. The World isn't as easily fooled but the World's media is controlled by the same psychopaths who control the U.S. media and are no more interested in honesty than rupert murdock.

If you have any mind for actual details, ask yourself why, if the Fitz were crossing the Crystal's bow from port to starboard and 10 minutes out, why did the Crystal begin a starboard turn which would aim it at the Fitz's position at that time. Without the starboard turn, the Fitz had time to clear the course of the Crystal without any turn necessary by the Crystal. Was the arrogance of crossing their bow too much for the C's captain? I have yet to see the names of the C's on duty officers nor do I expect to see the equivalent U.S. names or hear of any investigations which will drag on until popular memory fades (~two weeks). Who actually torpedoed the South Korean patrol boat, ROKS Cheonan, and it was almost certainly NOT the Bukhan. Can't remember it? There you are...

13 ( +20 / -7 )

If the US report says anything less than the incident was 100% USN at fault, nobody will believe it.

I bet the cargo ship owners will want a check.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

It happened outside territorial water, so why should Japan stick their nose in?

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Someone asleep at the helm?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

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