Catherine JANE Fisher, a long-time foreign resident in Japan, to meet with senior government officials in Japan and have foreign media invited is rare and shows the respect the Government has for the Truth.
The founder of our organisation is well-known for her continuous efforts to protect innocents from sexual violence by using Truth, Justice and Fairness. The work done by her and her Team investigates carefully why so many rape victims never report to the police and why so many US Military personnel have escaped prosecution for about 70 years.
Here is the Truth about SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) signed by Japan and USA
The simple message by Jane of the power of one was emphasized by her success in obtaining an American court endorsement of her rapist's conviction in a Japanese court and by accepting just one dollar in compensation. Her decision of one dollar was to prove her message that Justice is not about money.
It also showed that the USA Judiciary accepts the Japanese Court ruling as correct.
The Truth about SOFA
Let’s look at the SOFA Clauses
1. Subject to the provisions of this Article,
(a) the military authorities of the United States shall have the right to exercise within Japan all criminal and disciplinary jurisdiction conferred on them by the law of the United States over all person’s subject to the military law of the United States;
(b) the authorities of Japan shall have jurisdiction over the members of the United States armed forces, the civilian component, and their dependents with respect to offenses committed within the territory of Japan and punishable by the law of Japan.
Why then, for such a long time, has Japan been unable or unwilling to intervene in any crimes committed by US Service personal, when sub-clause (b) gives them authority?
Jane believes that it is important to seek the basic reason for this and this can be found in ISAB
The ISAB was tasked with conducting a study of the strategies for and challenges to U.S. negotiation of SOFAs.
It is the policy of the United States that U.S. Defense personnel should not be sent to foreign countries unless sufficient status safeguards are assured. Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) are the means by which this policy is given effect.
They define the legal status of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) personnel, activities, and property in the territory of another nation and set forth rights and responsibilities between the United States and the host government.”
“On page 5 of the Executive Summary”
Clause 3 Maintain Priority for Criminal Jurisdiction Provisions under Which Most Cases Will Be Resolved in U.S. Systems. It states U.S. policy seeks to maximize the exercise of jurisdiction over U.S. forces by U.S. authorities, whatever the form of the SOFA agreement – comprehensive, A&T equivalence, or other ad hoc protections. From this perspective, explicit agreement on exclusive U.S. jurisdiction is ideal. When SOFAs contain “concurrent jurisdiction” provisions, the United States rightly seeks to ensure that the host will in practice waive jurisdiction, so that effective exercise of jurisdiction over U.S. forces is maintained. The United States should continue, in most cases, to seek exclusive criminal jurisdiction, but where the local judicial system is a sound one, and there is reason to believe the host will normally waive jurisdiction, a concurrent jurisdiction regime should normally be acceptable.
“Clause 8.4 gives advice on”
Adjust Negotiating Tactics.
Even though it is asking for special privileges, the United States has leverage in SOFA negotiations, which derives in very important part from the value the host government attaches to a U.S. military presence. It is clear that negotiating a SOFA is easier when the host government sees a compelling need for the presence of U.S. forces and/or when bilateral relations are generally good. Problems emerge when public attitudes and/or concerns regarding incursions on sovereignty outweigh the perceived need for a U.S. presence
The SOFA clause XVII 1(b) above shows "concurrent jurisdiction" but ISAB Clause 3 above shows that this is only given when they can be sure that host government will not use this clause and waive their rights.
Much emphasis is given to the negotiations and the meetings held often between US Forces and the host country shows the leverage the USA has over the host country. They do however, anticipate that problems emerge when public attitudes and/or concerns regarding incursions on sovereignty outweigh the perceived need for a U.S. presence
Jane, was treated badly, when she sought help throughout her long ordeal but was puzzled by the ex-gratia payment to her by the Japanese Government. (ex-gratia means done from a sense of moral obligation rather than because of any legal requirement.) This all shows that the Japanese Government is in a situation that needs to be resolved now.