Hundreds in U.S. Military Guilty of Sex Crimes in Japan got Slap on Wrist

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
(photo: Itsuo Inouye, AP)

The U.S. military’s habit of not punishing rapists and others accused of sex crimes has been prevalent in Japan, home to multiple American naval and air installations.


An investigation by the Associated Press (AP) discovered that most service members stationed in Japan and who were found guilty of sex crimes did not go to prison.


Instead, these personnel were fined, demoted, sent a letter of reprimand, or received some other kind of punishment.


The AP characterized the treatment of sex assault cases in Japan as “disturbing” and that the “handling of allegations verged on the chaotic, with seemingly strong cases often reduced to lesser charges. In two rape cases, commanders overruled recommendations to court-martial and dropped the charges instead.”


It also was found that only a third of the 244 service members found guilty were sentenced to prison.


Some branches of the military were tougher on offenders than others.


The Marine Corps jailed 53 out of 270 cases, while the Navy put only 15 out of 203 sailors behind bars.


But the Air Force was even worse—it didn’t jail a single person out of 124 sex crime cases. The only official response in about 20% of the cases was a letter of reprimand.


AP’s report was based on an analysis of more than 1,000 internal Department of Defense documents pertaining to U.S. military sex crime reports filed between 2005 and early 2013.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Sexual Assaults by US Military in Japan Unlikely to End in Prison (Associated Press, Tokyo)

Japanese Government Agrees to Spend $3 Billion to Boot U.S. Marines out of Okinawa (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)           


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