Japan will seek answers from the U.S. military in connection with an investigative report that uncovered a pattern of lax punishment for sex crimes committed by U.S. service members stationed in the country, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida indicated Wednesday.
“I believe the Japanese government must continue consultations (with relevant U.S. authorities) to prevent further sex crimes” involving U.S. service members in Japan, Kishida told reporters.
The Associated Press said Monday that nearly two-thirds of the 244 service members whose punishments were detailed in the records were not incarcerated, citing documents the U.S. news agency obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“Instead they were fined, demoted, restricted to their bases or removed from the military. In more than 30 cases, a letter of reprimand was the only punishment,” it said. “The AP analysis found the handling of allegations verged on the chaotic, with seemingly strong cases often reduced to lesser charges.”
Kishida said he wants to confirm the accuracy of the data and other findings in the report.
“In any case, it is regrettable to see sex crimes involving U.S. military personnel, and such crimes must never occur,” he said.