|A REZOLUTION PROTESTING NON-PROSECUTION RELATING TO THE FATAL CAR ACCIDENT INVOLVING A U.S. FORCES’ CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE(adopted unanimously)
U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Commander U.S. Forces Japan
Okinawa Area CoordinatorOAFO, U.S. Forces Japan
On January 12 of this year, a vehicle driven by a civilian employee of the U.S. Forces, Okinawa swerved into oncoming traffic on National Route 329 in Hiyagon, Okinawa City, resulting in a head-on collision with a compact car driven by a 19-year-old company employee who was killed in this accident. On March 24, the vehicular manslaughter case against the male civilian employee of the U.S. Forces was dropped by the Okinawa Branch of the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds that the civilian employee was “on duty” at the time of the accident.
In September of last year, a civilian employee of the U.S. Forces, based at MCAS Iwakuni, was also not prosecuted for a fatal car accident on the grounds that the offender was “on duty.” Later, this civilian employee received a shockingly light punishment of a 4-month driving restriction through the traffic courts on base.
According to the Status of Forces Agreement, the United States authorities have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over servicemembers and/or civilian components of the U.S. Forces who cause accidents and who are determined to be “on duty” at the time of the accident. Who determines whether those involved were on-duty status or not is unclear and it can be said that such stipulations can be applied arbitrarily.
In regard to the accident in January, it is truly regrettable that despite the gross negligence on the part of the U.S. Forces’ civilian employee, in which he crashed his vehicle head-on and caused death to the other driver, the case resulted in a non-prosecution on the grounds that the civilian employee was “on duty.”
To that end, we, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, in our duty to protect the lives, rights and safety of the people of Okinawa, solemnly protest the vehicular accident caused by the civilian employee of the U.S. Forces, and strongly demand the immediate execution of the five items stated below:
I.Clearly define the scope of “on-duty” status in the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee.
II.Waive the primary right of the U.S.-side to exercise jurisdiction in regard to vehicular accidents that occur within Japan, and have the cases tried under Japanese Law.
III.Make apologies as well as full compensation to the victim(s) without delay.
IV.Implement tight and thorough disciplinary measures for U.S. Forces servicemembers, civilian components, etc.
V.Immediately conduct a fundamental review of the Status of Forces Agreement, and at the same time, facilitate the reduction and consolidation of military bases.
The above is resolved as stated on this 25th day of April, 2011.
Okinawa Prefectural Assembly