NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – U.S. military personnel in Okinawa committed only 32 crimes last year, falling about 40 percent from 2012 to the lowest level since the island prefecture’s return to Japan from U.S. control in 1972, it was reported at a bilateral governmental meeting Tuesday.
The meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry’s Okinawa office, attended by working-level officials from both governments.
The reported figures compiled by the Okinawa Prefectural Police and other organizations cover crimes by U.S. military personnel and related civilian employees as well as their family members.
By type, such crimes as obstruction of official duties, burglary and damage to property totaled 11, down from 29 the previous year, while heinous crimes such as murder dropped to zero from two.
But thefts increased to 15 from 12.
According to the ministry’s Okinawa office, the annual average of crimes from 2004 to 2013 was 56.4.
The office said the drop in the number of crimes apparently reflected U.S. restrictions on off-base drinking by military personnel in Okinawa, imposed since December 2012 following a spate of incidents involving misconduct by U.S. servicemen.
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