Since 1975
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Home
  • Woman raped by US serviceman in Japan seeks to change US-Japan agreement

Woman raped by US serviceman in Japan seeks to change US-Japan agreement

(ANJ)
(ANJ)
(ANJ)
(ANJ)
Short Url:
09 May 2022 02:05:28 GMT9
09 May 2022 02:05:28 GMT9
  • If I was the prime minster, I would amend Article 16 from ‘respect’ the laws of Japan, to ‘obey’ the laws of Japan, says Fisher

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: An Australian woman, who had to fight to convict the American serviceman who raped her in Yokosuka, Japan, is attempting to change Japanese law so that American military personnel who are protected under Japan’s defense agreement with the United States can be prosecuted for their crimes.

Catherine Jane Fisher, who was raped in 2002, won her case in the Tokyo District Court but the American serviceman who raped her had been sent back to the USA during her trial. She met with Japanese government officials and demanded that the perpetrator be sent back to Japan but the Japanese Government said that they could not because of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

This was the catalyst for Fisher to make changes to the status quo and on Oct. 15, 2013, the Milwaukee District Court in Wisconsin enforced her 2004 Japanese civil court judgment.

At the 20th year of her grassroots advocacy she was accompanied by 10 lawmakers from Japan on April 5 as she appeared at a Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs hearing on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that allows American military personnel to face the US judicial system rather than the Japanese judicial system for crimes committed on Japanese soil.

Fisher and her supporters are asking the agreement to be amended so that the wording in Article 16 states that American military personnel must “obey” the laws of Japan rather than just “respect” the laws of Japan.

“The Japanese government, by failing to amend the Status of Forces Agreement up until now, has failed to provide its citizens with adequate protection and human rights, causing insidious harm by subjecting countless people to unspeakable abuses committed by the US military stationed in Japan,” Dietman Masakatsu Akamine said.

Fisher recalled the struggle she faced: “There were repercussions against me because I chose to speak out and I never understood why. Why was I faced with reprisals, threats and followed by plainclothes policemen? Were these tactics used to deter other victims from reporting to the police or speaking out?

“For these 20 years, I have urged the Japanese government to take corrective action. There is never a justification for violence. If I was the prime minster, I would amend Article 16 from ‘respect’ the laws of Japan, to ‘obey’ the laws of Japan. The Japanese Government has inexcusably betrayed the trust of all of us who fell victim to US military crimes.”

“I was very pleased to be supported by many politicians today. After a lengthy discussion with the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs I was able to hand them a letter to present to Prime Minister Kishida. In my letter, I requested that the SOFA Agreement be amended immediately.”

Fisher praised the support she received from the Australian government and a letter she received from Prime Minister Rudd: “My Australian Consulate accompanied me to meet with government officials in Japan and also in the USA at my court trial in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am truly grateful to the Australian Consulate.”

topics
Most Popular
Recommended

return to top