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The serious crime rate for U.S. service members off their bases is approximately half that of the Japanese population.

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Lieutenant General Edward Rice, commander of U.S. forces in Japan, lamenting a "misperception" about the behavior of his troops. (AFP)

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That hardly seems like something to boast about. Why are they commiting crimes at all? Aren't they here to protect? What is the crime rate on base?

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BAD TABLE MANNERS I'm Black American.

2 weeks ago I was at Yokohama. I was eatting dinner with my friend at Hard Rock Cafe under Landmark Tower.

It was a Saturday night. A very busy restaurant night. My lady friend and I couldn`t wait for a table. So we ate at the bar.

The bar is very big and wide. So we can enjoy drinks and eat food.

Next to us was a big birthday party.

I can tell they were NAVY. Because I used to be in the Navy. I can tell they were not Marines ,Army or Airforce.

Maybe they are stationed here. Maybe this is there first time in Japan. First port of call. WHATEVER !!!

Anyways I was minding my own business eatting dinner with my lady friend. Until the Big black male came to the bar.

Why did he come to the bar ? He could have asked for a waiter or waitress to order a drink. I guess he needed a DRINK really bad. Anyways he was so close to me. He ordered a drink with his arm out. His hands was very close OVER my food.

I guess his family never taught him table manners. Mind you this was a bar. BUT COMMON SENSE WILL TELL YOU. That you can order a drink from your chair. Or you can give space if you see someone is eatting. You do not have to reach over someone`s plate.

Like I first told you the BAR is WIDE and LONG. He didn`t have to come over next to me and order a drink.

But that wasn`t the part that upset me the most. The part was

He ordered the drink kind of arrogantly. The Japanese bartender knew he was intoxicated. I knew too. He ordered whiskey or something ??? I can`t remember.

The Japanese bartender gave him a new glass from the bar and filled it with ice.

The man grabbed the glass and poured the ice back into the ice bin . Then he said in a very loud voice , " This is toooooo much ice man! "

In America if he had done that at a bar. He would have been thrown out. Remind you this is a restaurant. Not a bar or a club.

The man looked upset and watched the Japanese bartender pour the whiskey or whatever in the glass.

I am 36 years old. I have been to countless bars, clubs and restaurants. I have never seen a customer pour ice back into the ice bin at a bar.

The Japanese bartender was very nice to him.

I am a vet. I understand on a ship or barracks you will develop bad manners. Cursing alot and whatever ! But people have to understand. This is not Dogs-ass, Arkansas.

1) Reaching over someone's plate purposely is down right RUDE. 2) Grabbing a glass and pouring ice back into the bin is NASTY. 3) Being RUDE at Hard Rock Cafe with the bar staff is SCARY.

I used to work at a restaurant. If I was the waiter I would put secret special sauce on your baked potatoe. And smile at you. And say, "Would you like some more sour cream sir! "

I should have told him I am a professional boxer in Japan. I have my own school.

Maybe I should have told him that ??? !!!!!

I THINK EVERYBODY SHOULD GET SENSATIVITY TRAINING.

AND REMIND YOURSELF. I AM NOT IN COW POO CITY, TEXAS.

I AM IN JAPAN. I SHOULD RESPECT THE CULTURE AND PEOPLE. REGARDLESS IF I AM A NUMBER ONE PETER PUFFER.

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memyselfI- hardly a serious crime. If you wanna avoid rude foreigners in Jpn, I`d suggest staying away from the Hard rock cafe(or if you wanna avoid really bad overpriced food for that matter)

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memyselfi has a good point. and every right to be PO'd at that fellow countryman making a bad impression of he himself and others of his nationality. These transient Navy boys gotta be put in their place. Acting like young british boys first time in australia discovering cheap 4X!! I just wish you had mentioned to him how ridiculous this w@nker appeared to you and the rest of the bar. Obviously this drunk was looking to cause trouble either with you or the bartender so you should have given it to him. I'm sure the bartender would help back you up.

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memyself, I'm from Arkansas myself and a Black man and we are not all without table manners.

True this guys actions were probably over the top, but they are no more than the drunk Japanese guy on the train that falls asleep on me or acts beligerant to others. If you are stating that Blacks have bad table manners or are overly loud, going to TGIF in Yokosuka, or Yokohama I have seen many white groups exhibit loud obnoxious behavior of speaking too loud, thinking that everyone in the place wants to be part of their party, or that the servers there are there to only serve them. So I don't think it is so much of a racial thing, but just a rude problem posed by people who don't know any better.

I think what Gen Rice is trying to say for the most part, U.S. Service members are not the rowdy bunch of hooligans that the media sometimes portray them. True we have problems as you would with any segment of society, but we are no more above the norm for those kind of events.

And by the way, LT Gen Rice is a Black man, and I am sure that he has excellent table manners.

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memyselfi.

I feel for you. Hate to see my own country-men make fools of themselves at holiday-resorts, etc.

When they approach I can't understand my mother-tongue and speak some other language and am from somewhere else.

Said, that military personnel like internatonal business travelers, tourists, etc are ambassadors to their countries/companies/etc and thus should show their best sides.

Having been in military service myself I know how good it feels to go off-base and let loose a bit but there are still standards to uphold.

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gokai_wo_maneku at 08:55 AM JST - 16th July

That hardly seems like something to boast about. Why are they commiting crimes at all? Aren't they here to protect?

Gokai...yes, they are here to protect. General Rice's point was that, no matter what, EVERY profession has some bad folks squeak into the group. His point was that, despite media attention, and attitudes displayed by people such as yourself, the proportion of bad folks is LOWER in the US military stationed here than in the general population. Is it sad that there are some bad guys that get in?? Of course. Is the US military nothing but a bunch of murdering, raping hooligans like the media and people like you seem to think?? Absolutely NOT.

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NagoyaGaijin:

Being somewhat lower is not good enough. These are trained (allegedly) soldiers. They should have an extremely low rate of crime off-base. You should be able to count the percent on one hand, even if you have a couple fingers stuck up your butt.

What is the crime rate of foreigners here who are NOT soldiers? That should be a lot higher than what the soldiers get up to.

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Gee, why doesn't somebody take somebody who's acting inappropriate aside and explain things to them - they just might not know any better..

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This doesn't surprise me, in fact, most US service members in Japan, and most Japanese citizens, are law abiding. The media and local populace as well as politicians here just explode and exploit a crime by a service member but couldn't care less about other types of violence such as rape against women in general and committed mostly by Japanese men in this country.

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Naruki Oni, I'm not sure how long you have lived on this particular planet, but as long as we are dealing with humans the ideal you are describing is so far eluding us. There may be some, actually many individuals leading perfect lives, but when we start talking about any social group, any group in any country, there are then people who commit things they should not be. Now, looking at the present problem that there are thousands and thousands of people in this group, all trained to be tough, made tough, I'm amazed that the crime rate is, as the general says, only half of the rate that the very peaceful, crime-free country of Japan has. Half is not "somewhat" lower as you describe is, it's astonishing. If you can find another group with similar statistics, please feel free to share with us. Now, this group is being demonized by certain sections of the Japanese society. I would be interested to see the crime statistics for that same section. It would be very interesting to see who is accusing the soldiers of being "criminals" and "dangerous."

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GJP, I agree the media has a lot to do with the country's view of US service members. They also do not focus on their own crimes unless they are extremely bizarre, and outrageous; many are very strange. However this is not our country and Service members should at least respect that, if nothing else. I am an IT in the Navy stationed in Sasebo, Japan. I will openly admit that the NAVY or any other branch of the armed forces does not Screen the people which come overseas nearly as much as they should. You are supposed to have a pristine record and most importantly No felonies I know of numerous people with felonies... Mark,You can Explain it to them, however most of the miscreants they send over here are thick-headed cavemen and will continue to do whatever they please simply because they think they are the center of the universe. I do everything in my power to make America look better, and help fix a lot of the misconceptions and fears the Japanese people have of us. What little I can do helps; visiting Elementary schools on my own time and organizing Pen Pal letters to be sent to my Mothers school where she teaches in Madison WI, learning the language and being a kind person. Still there is so many horrific things which occur by Service members it will never be enough; if anything is to change our government needs to place a far more strict screening process into affect. I also feel if a service member does something to get into trouble in Japan, especially stealing or threatening the safety of others they should be removed from the country. As Service members, We are meant to be peacekeepers and to protect the public, not make them fear us by causing crimes ourselves. We should be holding ourselves up to the honesty and integrity of that of a police officer.

This article is definitely nothing to boast about, we should be causing almost no crime, we are the minority of their population to be even 1/16 of the Crime rate off base is too high. I myself am not perfect and I definitely have fun and get silly as well as wild sometimes; the Japanese themselves do this and they are very fun, all it requires is taking a little bit of time to look at where they come from and you can get along just fine.

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I am somewhat with zybster.

As a military person you trained that your are better, tougher than the guys out there and thus superior. Needed to do the job at hand.

This has been proven across the ages. But it causes problems as many can't switch it off. NOT a US thing either but common to trained and conditioned military personnel.

So it is not a US vs japan issue.

De-programming for US forces started after Vietnam as they found a lot of probs with soldiers/Vets.

I have friends that ask me for help adjusting their aggression years after they left the service. Those are the lucky ones as they realize their impact on family and their surroundings.

They know they been conditioned and can't let go.

So it is not a US vs Japan issue for me. But how about citizens/soldiers are misused for a goal.

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Landowl, I get the gist of what you are saying and I agree, in an ideal world, there would be no crime committed by service members in their host countries - but of course, we don't live in that ideal world. I also believe that life on base and the perceptions and experiences are vastly different than for non-Japanese civilians here. I am not trying to discount your experience, yet for foreigners living and working among the general population here, many of us are more keenly aware of the perceptions of foreigners in the media as criminals, etc. and so, I suppose I am more removed from the reality that you experience on the base and witness up close. I think in a broader sense, in a country with nearly 130 million, acts of US service members are very minor compared to the overall crime rate in Japan

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This is True GJP, yes, Sadly we do not live in that world, I am not too naive to believe that there won't be issues, however close our governments may be I'd prefer if things got better or at least stayed the same with the general populous of Japan. There are already a fair amount of places that won't ever bother serving Americans, just a sad thing to see...

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Rate of serious crimes of US service men in Japan are "aprrox" half of japanese population.Well that is nothing to be proud of. Remember japanese are in their land and are common regular people. Americans are military on duty in a foreign country that has given them permission to be stationed in their soil. We expect much better than that.

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Isn't it funny how whenever they are suspected of doing any serious crime, such as rape, they are just shipped on home to the US to avoid the charges? I suppose those crimes are not in these statistics?

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As I used to live in the US, I noticed that during the final year of high school, the colleges were at school to invite the good students to their college. For the idiots and the losers, there was the army with open arms. Come to us, losers. They obviously did.

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I want to see the actual numbers and the basis on which this statement is made.

It just can't be true. Young men 18-30 of any nationality are much more likely to be involved in serious crime than an entire population which of course includes children and elderly people. Do the military numbers here include all those incidents where no further action is taken by the police due to 'lack of evidence'? I'd guess that even if there are supporting data it is based only on convictions rather than complaints.

I invite the officer to publish the evidence on which the claim is made. If he believes that it will stand detailed scrutiny.

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freddjoh, I was a Navy recruiter in a past job and let me give you a few facts: -one of the hardest colleges to get into is the US Naval Academy (as well as West Point and Air Force Academy), that require nomination from a Congressman and other pre-screening. So none of this "I just got by in high school and I can play a little ball so let me in, and 4 years later they are in the service causing problems."

Many students apply for college scholarships from the military that pay a full 4 years tuition and guarntees you a commission as an officer afterwards. Needless to say competition is very high for this, and student who do get them use them a places like Yale, MIT, Stanford, etc. Basically, if I had a kid of college age, I would highly recommend to him/her to apply and let someone else pay for your education, and you will have a job after graduation. for those who do not choose to go to college,most of the military jobs are highly technical. They do require some academic skills. So the rock bottom students who can barely read are not really allowed to enter the military. As far as loser kids, if you look recently at the latest NBA draft, there were several kids that had no college experience. Looking back a few years to Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics, he chose not to go to college. Yes he had skill, but one of the main reasons why he did not was because he couldn't get a high enough score on the SAT/ACT to meet the NCAA minimus (Title 9 is the rule). So, in your world, since he did not go to a college he would be considered a loser since he was not smart enough to make it.

True, bad apples do make it into the military. But, I will also bet you a good meal that there are a lot of people in jails in the US who have college degrees, and still are idots and losers (I know a few).

So before you start on your "loser" rant, please check your facts.

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I want to see the actual numbers and the basis on which this statement is made.

It just can't be true. Young men 18-30 of any nationality are much more likely to be involved in serious crime than an entire population which of course includes children and elderly people. Do the military numbers here include all those incidents where no further action is taken by the police due to 'lack of evidence'? I'd guess that even if there are supporting data it is based only on convictions rather than complaints.

I invite the officer to publish the evidence on which the claim is made. If he believes that it will stand detailed scrutiny.

Stats, Have a nice day.

http://www.dprkstudies.org/documents/asia015.html

http://nihon.awardspace.com/okinawa_sofa_crime.html

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080226zg.html

http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=59767&archive=true

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Zybster, I live on planet Earth, in the 21st century. Maybe you could join us sometime?

Somehow managing to not commit rape and not commit armed robbery is hardly what any sane and rational person would call "ideal". It's what we call "duh, of course". Maybe your world is a lot more horrible. Do you happen to live in Bush's Iraq?

Anyway, if the military cannot police its members better, then they need to GTFO of Japan. There is no excuse for this level of crime.

ON BASE there is little to no crime. Why is it so hard for you to expect that OFF BASE the crime rate should not explode? (Again, if you live in Darfur then I understand why your views are so backwards.)

The military institution handles these crimes very badly, preventing any attempt at justice by yanking the criminals back home before actual law enforcement can deal with them.

This earns them a most well-deserved black eye.

I know they do it because they don't want to "lose face" by having soldiers convicted. They think that would be terribly embarrassing to the nation, tsk tsk. So they hustle them back home under the false pretense of administering military justice.

But in the real world (albeit not quite as "real" as the Dachau you must live in) this is viewed as running away from responsibility.

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ON BASE there is little to no crime. Why is it so hard for you to expect that OFF BASE the crime rate should not explode? (Again, if you live in Darfur then I understand why your views are so backwards.)

Ummm, Headline says:

The serious crime rate for U.S. service members off their bases is approximately half that of the Japanese population.

Half doesn't really qualify as an explosion.

The military institution handles these crimes very badly, preventing any attempt at justice by yanking the criminals back home before actual law enforcement can deal with them.

Do you have facts to back that up? Just curious since I know of no one that was arrested by the Japanese police or the Military under the SOFA when accused of a crime by a Japanese national to be sent back home. Please cite a specific case.

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ON BASE there is little to no crime. Why is it so hard for you to expect that OFF BASE the crime rate should not explode?

Naruki Oni, where did you get that stat from? There is plenty of crime onbase. Many cases of minor theft, teenage problems and yes the occasional assaults do occur. I read the police reports, and the more serious ones get reported to J police. I belive last week there was a story in Stars and Stripes about a drug possession onbase (Marine in Iwakuni was smoking pot in the barracks and had possession). The offer was made to turn him over to Japan authorities, but they turned it down since it occured onbase and decided to let the US handle it. Before we go down the much vautned "SOFA argument" it worked exactly as it should in this case. Marine is charged with a crime (on US property) and J Gov is given the opportunity to prosecute. They declined, so now he will get charged under UCMJ. If you read the blogs on what happened to the Marines who assualted females lately, you will see that this guy will get a pretty hard sentence against him. Sure the US will save face, by throwing the book at him.

The military institution handles these crimes very badly, preventing any attempt at justice by yanking the criminals back home before actual law enforcement can deal with them.

There is a thing called "legal hold" where if we have court cases or civil involvement pending, you can't leave. I almost fell to that when I had a minor "fender bender." They asked if I had any upcoming deployments or leave that would have taken me out of Japan. I did and they noted it. So, if needed, I would not have been able to depart.

So, yes the military does police it's own. If not, then why can't I drink in a bar after midnight tonight? Get your facts strait.

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Another link for you Naruki

http://www.davidappleyard.com/japan/jp22.htm

I really don't think explosion applies.

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Naruki Oni, it again seems to me you are quite detached from the reality. Have you been to Dachau? Do you really know what it was or was it just a name for you? My grandfather was there, as a prisoner, and I remember him telling me about it. Lots of details, which you cannot imagine. Please stop using this expression because you simply don't understand it.

Now, you talked about the "no-crime on base, explosion of crime off-base" world that you seem to know. I take it you would know it because you are a service person, right? Otherwise, could you give us some numbers why you say there is such a contrast?

Other posters also criticized your comment, mainly because it's simply your speculation and completely baseless. I was saying that any large social group will have crime committed by its members, and that naturally includes the US military. I was just reading about the foreign crime in Japan, please take a look here: http://www.jref.com/society/foreign_crime_in_japan.shtml

This page gives lots of statistics, and among them they compare the crime among different nationalities. The numbers are: Japan - 0.291% Korea - 0.024% China - 0.428% USA - 0.016%

These are statistics from Japan's National Police Agency (NPA), so you wouldn't accuse them of lowering the statistics for the Americans. Now, if for the US citizens the crime rate is 0.016%, and there is such an "explosion" of crime off base among military, then the crime rate among the civilian Americans would have to be below 0.

So, unless you give us some real numbers on which you are basing your expression, please allow us to think about your opinion as completely biased and worthless.

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The link doesn't seem to be displayed right because of the formatting style of JP, so please make sure that there is an underline sign between the words after the slash: foreign/underline/crime/underline/in/underline/japan.shtml

http://www.jref.com/society/foreign_crime_in_japan.shtml

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Zybster, Good article and good information. It seems that according to this, you are statistically safer hanging around Americans than those Chinese women on the corners offering "massagge." :)

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Great quote.

No matter what the reality is, Japanese people are sooooo easily influenced and not capable of making independent logical thought.

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No matter what the crime "rate" is, every time a young Japanese girl is raped or assaulted or murdered by an American soldier, another family is traumatized or destroyed. One is too many, and that's an atrocity.

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No matter what the crime "rate" is, every time a young Japanese girl is raped or assaulted or murdered by an American soldier, another family is traumatized or destroyed. One is too many, and that's an atrocity.

Papa - So if one is too many for American soldiers, is two also too many for Japanese men since the Lieutenant General pointed out the double rate?

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"On average, US forces in Japan commit half as many serious crimes as the general public, announced their commander Lieutenant General Edward Rice, based in Yokosuka. Japan."

Peculiar, because close to 500,000 Japanese live in Yokosuka, and an estimated 10,000 US troops live and work on the US base.

Does this mean that it only takes 10,000 Americans to commit the same number of crimes as 250,000 Japanese?

So an American serviceman is only 25 times more likely to perform a serious criminal act than the locals.

Now I understand why, when I lived in Yokosuka, the majority of the local population avoided me, regarding me with about as much affection as you would reserve for a baby-eating monster that could go off-reservation at any moment. The locals that found out I was not American were fine but living in such a charged atmosphere, I got out and moved to ** - where all of the local kids have a chirpy 'Hello' whenever they see me and the mothers don't regard me as an American looking for a KFC (Kentucky Fried Child).

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MrMukatsuku, you sure flashed your intelligence here. Does the word "crime rate" mean anything to you? But I guess I'm wasting my breath trying to explain such a complicated expression.

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OK Zyb, no need to breath - Rate does not enter into it. Crime is crime. It is not seasonal. It does not keep business hours. Real people get hurt.

What is important is the perception of our hosts, and Rice has shot himself in the foot and handed them the gun.

Japanese people in Yokosuka see a 'Westerner' and they equate this with danger.

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Statistically speaking, while crime has increased here since the economic implosion in the early 1990's, Japan remains one of the world's safest societies. The media here is largely responsible for sensationalizing the crime that does occur - they and Japanese politicians are jointly responsible for perpetuating the largely incorrect myth that foreigners (including US military) are mostly responsible for increases in Japanese crime.

When VISA infractions (like overstays) are removed from the statistics, foreigners as a whole account for a relatively SMALL proportion of crimes committed in Japan. The largest proportion is committed by Japanese nationals.

Some of the criminal activity in Japan today wasn't criminal a decade ago. There have been reforms, new laws, and changes to the ages that youth can be charged which complicate the picture and the statistics.

Unfortunately Japanese often buy into the hype, and politicians gain points by exploiting it. Over the past few years Japanese have begun pushing for more police presence around their neighborhood schools in response to media blitzes whenever something happens to a child, yet over the past decade school related crimes have decreased significantly. There's a definite disjoint between perception and statistical reality.

While I agree with Alphaape that there are some educated criminals in jails, I also believe that the higher the level of education, the lower the chance of being involved in crime. Most N.Americans in Japan need a university degree to work here, (he says much of the military have higher education too, and that's probably true) and I doubt this group (including military) contributes significantly to crime in Japan outside of VISA or other minor infractions. Foreigners in Japan are different, and as such we're convenient media and political scapegoats.

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