Return of Okinawa

Japan continues to assert their rights to Okinawa Island. It seems that their hopes will come true. At least, they are trying in every possible way to facilitate this. This, of course, is not a complete liberation from the bonds of the "ally", but another step towards independence. On December 22, 2016, about four thousand hectares of Okinawa's land occupied by US military facilities was transferred to Japan. In the future, the US will continue the policy of returning land to the Japanese authorities used to deploy military bases. Currently, Okinawa is the main military bridgehead of the United States in East Asia. 74% of all US military installations in Japan occupy the fifth part of the island. There are 25,800 US servicemen and 19,000 members of their families and civilians in Okinawa. This figure will be reduced to 70% after the transfer of part of the training ground.

Perhaps such a reduction in the number of American military personnel will have a positive impact on the reduction of crime in Okinawa.

Waves of protest have repeatedly rolled out against the deployment of US bases in Japan, primarily related to the annual increase in the delinquency of American servicemen. According to the administration of the Okinawa Prefecture, 23 incidents involving the US military for the period from 1972 to 2010. The US military committed more than 5.8 thousand crimes on Okinawa Island after it's transferring to the sovereignty of Japan in 1972. But practically none of the criminal was convicted. American servicemen who commit crimes fall under the terms of the 1960 agreement, under the jurisdiction of US law. Thus, most of offenses and crimes committed by US servicemen remains unpunished. If the crime was committed while on duty or on the territory of the base, the agreement on the status of troops of 1960 provides the personnel and civil servants of US military bases with immunity from criminal prosecution by the Japanese authorities.

The Japanese authorities are already tired of expressing outrage and regret over the growth of crime, as the US every time vainly promise to strengthen discipline and prevent new offenses.

After the murder of a woman in the summer of 2016, the governments of the two countries began to coordinate the status of employees of US military bases, who are granted immunity from criminal prosecution of the Japanese authorities. As a result, the parties came to an agreement that civilian personnel hired from among the local population (like the person who committed the crime described above) cannot use the privileges provided by the agreement on the status of troops.

In addition, the Japanese authorities decided to form a special interdepartmental unit, which will deal with the prevention of criminal activities by American servicemen stationed at US military bases in Japan.

Perhaps, the measures taken will bring the desired result, and the level of crime at US bases in Japan will be reduced. Although all the measures taken before this did not have the desired effect.

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