• Kyodo

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Japan and the United States remained apart Friday over criminal procedures for U.S. military personnel accused of crimes in Japan.

At their second meeting on the issue, Japan explained its criminal procedure system and answered questions, a Japanese official told reporters.

The working-level meeting took place at the Defense Department, outside Washington.

The U.S. has been calling for improved rights for its military personnel accused of committing crimes in Japan by allowing a U.S. government official to be present during interrogations by Japanese police.

But Japan insists that suspects’ human rights are fully protected under Japan’s Code of Criminal Procedure, a Japanese source said.

At the Pentagon meeting, the two countries failed to set a date for the next meeting, meaning it will be difficult to strike a deal by the July 31 deadline.

Japan wanted to fix a date for the talks but U.S. officials replied they need to hold discussions with their superiors on how to proceed, the source said.

Japan and the U.S. agreed in June to launch talks on a possible review of criminal procedures under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, which governs the management and operation of U.S. forces in Japan.

The accord was reached after a U.S. Marine in Okinawa was handed over to Japanese authorities and arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in May.

The two countries held the first meeting in Tokyo on July 2 and 3.