Aussie woman renews her request to amend Japan-US SOFA

Aussie woman renews her request to amend Japan-US SOFA

Written by Staff Writer

15 Jul, 2019 | 9:22 pm

Colombo (News 1st): The following report is a revelation which should be brought to the attention of the groups that are involved in agreements such as the SOFA, the government, and the general public. While Sri Lanka debates the pros and cons of the SOFA agreement, many countries that signed the agreement are now beginning to experience the detrimental effects of the pact with the US.

Foreign media reported that an Australian woman who was raped by a U.S. military serviceman more than a decade ago has renewed her request to Japan’s government to amend the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which critics claim allows both countries to evade responsibility for misconduct linked to U.S. bases.

Victim and Human Rights Activist Catherine Jane Fisher noted;

“Mr. Vice President for over 70 years US military servicemen have committed crimes in Japan. 1952 to 2017 over 210,000 crimes accidents so on, These are according to the Ministry of Defence. Are these mere numbers? I was one of those numbers. I was raped. Japan Police held me for 13 hours, no food no water, treated like a criminal, forced to look for the rapist, Reenact the rape in photos. I am the first woman to break the silence in Japan after being raped in 2002. For this, I am followed by the secret police, received death threats. I won my case in Tokoyo, but the rapist fled Japan. I looked for him for 10 years by myself and I found him. No woman should have to fight this hard for justice. I sued the rapist in the USA and I won again and the US courts endorsed the Japanese Court’s verdict. I was entitled to receive compensation. I asked for 1 dollar because justice is not about money to me. I want rape to stop. 18 years now I tried to change the SOFA agreement that let the rapist flee Japan. 2016 Okinowa women murdered and stuffed into a suitcase. In the past a 6-year-old girl raped, mutilated, women beaten to death in the street, this is happening in Japan now. I speak on behalf of all the victims. I request the UN to investigate these violations of human rights. Impunity of US military crimes must stop. Thank you for hearing my voice, Our voices Vice president.”

Court records show that Fisher was raped by American serviceman Bloke Deans near the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 2002. In 2004, a Tokyo court ordered Deans to pay ¥3 million in damages as compensation. But he had already left Japan and has not returned. Fisher later asked the Foreign Ministry to locate him, but she said her request was rejected based on Article 16 of the SOFA agreement.

Fisher said she was told by the ministry at the time that members of the U.S. military only have to “respect the laws of Japan, not obey them.” She believes the word “respect” in the article should have been interpreted to mean almost the same as “obey” when the pact came into force in 1960.

Without support from either government, Fisher located Deans on her own after 10 years of searching. Deans was never subject to criminal prosecution. In an effort to secure justice, Fisher agreed to a $1 settlement in exchange for an admission from Deans that he committed the rape.

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