Monday, August 4, 2008

1953 Secret Pact to Ignore Crimes Committed by USA Military in Japan

BBC News Photo Oct. 2005

According to new research on old documents from post WWII Japan, there is a long history of agreement that USA Forces serving overseas should be exempt from being charged when breaking the law. Talk about slippery slopes... from there to Blackwater and exemptions for private contractors. And here we find ourselves.

Act only on major U.S. forces crimes, prosecutors told 1953 Justice Ministry ordered charges waived -Kyodo News

The Justice Ministry in 1953 ordered prosecutors nationwide to act only on major crimes committed by U.S. service personnel in Japan, according to multiple internal documents, including those of the ministry.

It is the first time Japan's detailed measures on the issue have come to light, although the existence of a 1953 Japan-U.S. secret pact regarding the exemption of U.S. service personnel from Japanese justice was already known.

The documents, compiled by the ministry's Criminal Affairs Bureau and the National Police Agency's Criminal Investigation Bureau from 1954 to 1972, were obtained by Shoji Niihara, a researcher on Japan-U.S. relations, and Kyodo News.
The article goes on to talk about the fact that the Japanese and USA governments decided to let a few high profile cases go through mostly to keep the public happy and avoid the public outcry, but they established very lenient rules of what was considered on and off base activity etc. I can only imagine the kind of secret agreements we are in with factions of governments in the Middle East and South East Asia now. I think it is a reasonable expectation that we should hold our military personnel to standards including not breaking the the local laws of the land. If they cannot do that, then frankly they should not leave base.

And certainly private contractors working for corporate interests in a war zone should NOT be exempt from criminal charges.