【PART 2】 The Mystery of Fukushima: Why Japan Cannot Stop Nuclear Power Plants？
【17】 Teamwork among public offices to let murderers escape conviction
Let me give a simple illustration of this policy. Suppose a soldier of USFJ commits a serious crime such as raping a woman, injuring a person with a car or shooting to kill. At that point, the Japan-U.S. Committee, composed of elite Japanese bureaucrats and high-ranking U.S. military officers in Japan, holds a secret meeting.
There was just such a case, in 1957 in Gunma Prefecture, referred to as the Girard incident. A 21-year-old U.S. soldier named Girard shot and killed a 46-year-old Japanese housewife just for a joke. It has been discovered that, in response to this incident, the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee agreed on the following: “The Japanese prosecutor prosecutes Girard not for murder but for inflicting bodily harm that resulted in the death.” Moreover, “the Japanese representative advises the Japanese court to make the sentence as light as possible through the prosecutors office.” (Secret File – Mikio Haruna published by Kyodo News)
What this case shows is that a policy decided secretly among representatives of U.S. Forces and Japanese officials is conveyed to the prosecutor’s office through the Ministry of Justice. The prosecutor’s office itself demands a lighter sentence and, at the same time, asks the court to give a minimum sentence. Then the court pronounces an outrageously light sentence. This is how it happens.
In the Girard case, in spite of a Japanese woman having been shot to death just for a joke, the prosecutors followed the secret agreement and indicted on a charge of injury resulting in death, and demanded only five years’ imprisonment. As a result, the Maebashi District Court imposed a sentence of three years in prison, with a probation of four years, which is an extraordinarily light sentence. Then the prosecutor’s office declined to appeal the ruling, and the suspended sentence was carried out. Girard was allowed to go back to the U.S. only two weeks after the adjudgment.
MOFA discusses the case with the U.S. -> MOJ advises the prosecutor’s office to demand an outrageously light sentence -> District Court imposes an outrageously light sentence -> MOFA lets a criminal return to the U.S.
Such team play among public offices effectively acquitted a decided murderer.