Irish Times on Jane v. NPA rape case (she lost, again)


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog. Here’s an article from the Irish Times updating us on the rape case of Jane v. the Japanese police (she lost in Tokyo High Court last month). Riding that story is the execrable treatment of both victim and perpetrator under SOFA in Japan. I doubt we’ll see any changes under newly-anointed US Ambassador to Japan Joseph S. Nye, who values security uber alles. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Rape puts focus on dark corner of US-Japan alliance

The Irish Times Mon, Jan 26, 2009, courtesy of SS

An Australian woman ‘doubly violated’ in Japan in 2002 fights on for justice, writes David McNeill

AROUND THE nondescript Tokyo suburb where she lives with her three children, Jane is a well-known face. Foreign in an area crowded with Japanese, the Australian with Kildare roots has taught English for years here among neighbours who greet her warmly on the street.

Few know that her life is consumed by a fight against one of the world’s most powerful military alliances and a secret agreement that she says allows its crimes to go unpunished.

In a room cluttered with the detritus of her seven-year struggle, she tells her story, which begins with a violent sexual assault. On April 6th, 2002, Jane was raped by American sailor Bloke T Deans in a car park near the US Yokosuka Navy Base south west of Tokyo. Shocked and bleeding, she ended up in the small hours inside the local police station, where what she calls her second violation began. During a 12-hour interview with a team of policemen that stretched into the middle of the next day, she says she was “mocked”, refused food, medical aid and water and treated like a criminal.

Her demands for a paper cup for her urine, which she believed contained the sperm of her attacker, were ignored until, crying with rage and frustration, she flushed the evidence of her rape down the station toilet. Then she was taken back to the car park where she was forced to re-enact the assault for police cameras.

Her ordeal was branded “one of the worst cases of police revictimisation I have ever seen” by John Dussich, president of the World Society for Victimology, but it was just beginning. Deans was quickly found nearby, aboard the giant US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, then for reasons that remain murky, released. He was demobbed and slipped out of Japan, under the protection, believes Jane, of the military and perhaps the Japanese authorities. He lives today in the US city of Milwaukee.

“The military deliberately discharged Deans knowing full well that there were charges against him,” she says, drawing on the first of several cigarettes. She believes that Deans was let go to spare the US navy and its Japanese host embarrassment, forcing her to track him across America.

“I’m not ever going to give up until justice is served and that will happen when Deans faces me in court,” she says.

Jane is one of hundreds of women assaulted by US military personnel annually around the world, including in Japan, home to over 80 American bases and about 33,000 troops. The military presence is blamed for over 200,000 mostly off-duty crimes since the Japan-America Security Alliance was created in the early 1950s.

The bulk are petty offences but in one of the most notorious, a 12-year-old schoolgirl was raped and left for dead by three US serviceman on the southern island of Okinawa, reluctant home to nearly three-quarters of all US military facilities in Japan.

That 1995 crime shook the half-century alliance, sparking huge anti-US rallies and cries of “never again”. Last year a 14-year-old was raped by a US marine, one of several similar assaults against Japanese and Filipino women.

Protests forced the US military to set up recently a “sexual assault prevention unit”. Opponents say, however, that the incidents are an inevitable consequence of transplanting young and often traumatised trained killers into a local population they neither know nor respect.

Tensions between locals and the military are exacerbated by extraterritorial rights enjoyed by US personnel under the Status of Forces Agreement, which often allows them to avoid arrest for minor and sometimes even serious crimes. The agreement was reinforced by a recently uncovered deal between Washington and Tokyo to waive secretly jurisdiction against US soldiers in all but the most serious crimes, according to researcher Shoji Niihara.

Under pressure from increasingly angry citizens, Japan has, however, toughened its response to crimes by off-duty American soldiers. In 2006, Kitty Hawk airman Oliver Reese was sentenced to life imprisonment in a Japanese court for a robbery/murder, also in Yokosuka. The court heard Reese repeatedly stomped on the body of Yoshie Sato (56), rupturing her liver and kidney after she refused to hand over 15,000 yen. He spent the money on a sex show.

Sato’s fiance, Masanori Yamazaki, initially treated as a suspect in the murder, welcomes the conviction but argues that Reese was given preferential treatment. “He was eligible for the death penalty but it wasn’t considered. I believe that in trying to protect the Japan-US Alliance, the government is not protecting its citizens.”

Last year, bureaucrats from Japan’s ministry of defence offered Yamazaki a blank cheque as compensation for Sato’s death.

“They told me to fill in the amount I wanted. But they were going to demand the money from Reese’s family . . . It is the Japanese government that loans them the land and the US military that employs them. They are to blame but they have absolutely no sense of responsibility.”

The offer of what some victims call “shut-up money” was made to Jane too, this time from a fund used by the defence ministry to compensate the victims of US military crimes in Japan.

The three-million-yen cheque equalled the unpaid amount awarded by a Tokyo civil court, which convicted her attacker in his absence in 2004.

In search of further retribution, Jane sued her police tormentors, fighting all the way to an appeal in the Tokyo High Court, which ruled against her in December. She is liable for all legal costs.

“The financial and emotional burdens have been enormous,” she admits, adding that she has repeatedly faced eviction from her house. “With my post-traumatic stress disorder, I’ve lost a lot of students as well. But at what point do you say, ‘I don’t care anymore.’ I just can’t do that.”

In case she forgets, a poster of Deans captioned: “Wanted for Rape,” sits inches away. Two days before our interview she called his Milwaukee house after being tipped off about his whereabouts. “I spoke to his daughter,” she says nervously. “I’m discussing now with my lawyers what to do.”

In an effort to publicise her case, and banish some ghosts, she has just written a book about her experience. Due for publication in March, the title comes from something a rape victim on Okinawa told Jane after she gave a speech there to an anti-base rally. “She said, ‘I’m going to live my life from today.’ That moved me.”

She continues to write letters to Japanese and US politicians, including new president Barack Obama, demanding they extradite her assailant and shine a light into a small but dark corner of the Pacific alliance.

“My number one priority is getting Deans on trial . . .” she says.

“You know, I was guilty until I could prove myself innocent; he is innocent until I can prove him guilty. How fair is that?”


7 comments on “Irish Times on Jane v. NPA rape case (she lost, again)

  • I admire such strong women like her. If it was me, I would be broken and depressed, and would just give up life. She is great and I hope she wins, she deserves it.
    Another thing I hope is that the US army will finally leave Japan. The problems they are causing reflect on other foreigners living in Japan. [irrelevant tangent deleted]

  • Of course serious crimes should be punished, and this case is enraging.

    However, taking a step outside of defending clearly guilty rapists, can you blame
    the US for NOT wanting its members to be subject to the Japanese “justice” system?

    We have all gone over the anti-gaijin bias, the right of the *prosecution* to appeal a not guilt verdict, the police incompetence, the forced confessions, etc. etc.

    If the defendant is a US soldier, does that all go out the window?

    This is such a gray area. On one hand, it seems “fair” that the soldiers should be subject to the same unfair system we have to live under. Perhaps it would lead to reforms to make life better for all of us, with the US military and diplomats putting pressure on the Japanese “justice” system to treat ALL defendants, and thus US soldiers, better.

    On the other hand, should the US subject its soldiers to local laws (some of which are far more repressive than Japan) around the world? [i.e. Should a female soldier who works alone in the same room as a male who is not their immedidate relative or whatever be stoned in the public square for violating Sharia law? Should a sailor on shore leave in Shanghai who makes a joke about Chairman Mao be jailed?] Meanwhile diplomats enjoy immunity, while the US Marine who guards the diplomat does not?

    The whole diplomatic immunity issue shows that there IS an acceptable double standard for international government representatives. Should soldiers get at least partial immunity for providing security to a country, allowing that country to spend less on its own military?

    Further, it seems slightly unfair that a military which ships its soldiers around the world to places they don’t want to be, should as a further burden, subject them to the backwards “justice” systems in some of the locations they are sent to. Still, in any case, the soldiers should at least be prosecuted under US law or the UCMJ (which is a bit Draconian itself compared to the full rights under US law) And under US law, rape is still illegal, isn’t it? Why did they let this guy go? Crazy, although possibly the Japanese police bungling everything evidence-wise would make it harder to prosecute him in a hypothetical American-court-in-Japan[bungled at the orders of the US government? uh…no.. Don’t need to come up with a conspiracy theory when stupidity and incompetence explain it just fine]

    I don’t have answers, but we should think of all the issues and viewpoints…

    …except for rapists and murderers, they should rot in hell.

    — I think you’ve expanded the debate beyond reasonable parameters.

  • The American army should have left ever since the government forced a constitution that denounces war on this country.

    All I can say is


  • Not germaine to the topic at hand, but:

    “Should a sailor on shore leave in Shanghai who makes a joke about Chairman Mao be jailed?”

    Nobody gets jailed for making jokes about Chairman Mao. Having personally witnessed people doing just that, without abandon, in public and facing no consequences for it, I’d like to say that you could have picked a better example to illustrate your point, as valid a point as it was.

  • Two worn-out (and incorrect) arguments deserve to be permanently put to rest. First: Japan’s Military spending

    Level 3 stated, “Should soldiers get at least partial immunity for providing security to a country, allowing that country to spend less on its own military?”

    This is such a tired statement and fallacy in defence of the unneeded U.S. military presence. Japan’s Defence Budget for 2008 ($52.7Billion USD)[1] puts the country ahead of Russia ($40 Billion USD)[2] for 5th place in the world and closer to it’s neighbour China ($61.09 Billion USD)[3]; a spending policy that has been in place for over 10 years.[4] On top of that, Japan fronts money yearly for both the U.S. military and troop friendly infrastructure and support. Japan’s extra expense for 2009 with be $763 Million USD for U.S. base expenditures plus a yet undetermined amount for the Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Ginowan. The capacity of current defence spending (and the U.S. has requested it be increased[22]) is surprising considering Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan: “…land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”[21]

    The second pipe-dream is the U.S. presence as an altruistic deterrence to Japan’s potential aggressors.

    I doubt the U.S. would ever totally abandon Japanese occupation (contrary to the Cairo Declaration, Potsdam Declaration, and the Hauge Convention) as the U.S. interest in using Japan as a keystone in it’s military planning is well known.[5-16] Consider the Nye Agreement, or the Clinton Administration’s press release that it, “is reluctant to give up its right to station troops in Okinawa. Its proximity to China, Southeast Asia, and the Korean peninsula puts the troops within easy reach of potential trouble spots.”[17] U.S. Senator John McCain echoed the same sentiment recently when referring to permanent troop deployment in Iraq, S. Korea, and Japan saying, “It’s fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintained a presence in a very volatile part of the world.”[18]

    Level3 also says, “Further, it seems slightly unfair that a military which ships its soldiers around the world to places they don’t want to be, should as a further burden, subject them to the backwards “justice” [sic. And why is justice in quotes all three times it appears?] systems in some of the locations they are sent to. Still, in any case, the soldiers should at least be prosecuted under US law or the UCMJ”

    A soldier takes an oath to follow orders.[19] When stationed in Japan, part of a soldiers orders includes adhering to the SOFA; specifically Article VI of the “Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between Japan and the United States of America, Regarding Facilities and Areas and the Status of United States Armed Forces in Japan” which implicitly states that U.S. military and civilian workers are subject to both Military Law and Japanese Law & Due Process.[20] If soldiers are in “places they don’t want to be”, it is no excuse for criminal behavior. Military service is voluntary. And, calling this “slightly unfair” is ridiculous. Soldiers are deployed in accordance with military policy that said soldiers made an oath to abide by upon entering service. That’s fair.

    Level3, “Meanwhile diplomats enjoy immunity, while the US Marine who guards the diplomat does not? The whole diplomatic immunity issue shows that there IS an acceptable double standard for international government representatives.”

    I don’t know where you got this idea from, but there is no double standard whatsoever. Soldiers are Soldiers and Diplomats are Diplomats and are not even remotely close to being in the same category. Diplomats are representatives bound by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and fulfill specific and narrow non-military political missions. Soldiers are NOT government representatives. They are employed to serve UNDER government representatives and to function under completely different conventions and regulations. Contrary to what Hollywood portrays, Diplomatic Immunity isn’t a magic spell creating blanket exemption from any sort of arrest or prosecution. Diplomats are required to abide by the laws of their home country while abroad and can be subject to prosecution upon return. Also, damage to private property not held by their home country or activities not directly involved with their specific mission are governed by the laws of respective country they are visiting (unless waived) and punishment can be administered to the full extent of the hosting country’s judicial capacity.[23]

    [1] Japan Times

    [2] USA Today

    [3] Reuters

    [4] Japan Ministry of Defence

    [5] USA Korean War Memorial Wesite

    [6] Army Times

    [7] Asian Pacific Journal

    [8] Global Security

    The Standard

    [10] Japan Policy Research Institute


    [12] Japan Focus


    [14] Global Security

    [15] Mainichi

    [16] University of the Ryukyu

    [17] Associated Press

    [18] Washington Post


    [20] Official USFJ Site (U.S. Military)

    [21] Solin Law Archive
    Japanese Constitution in English
    Japanese Constitution in Japanese


    [23] United Nations

  • This argument has missed the fundamental fault of the case. Rather than bickering over the role and responsibility of US military personnel in Japan, the real fault is on the police for failing to take the complaint seriously and gross negligence in their investigations. The US military can’t punish a soldier without evidence of the crime, which the local police failed to collect and allowed to be flushed down a toilet. Even military prosecutors need physical evidence.

    The notion that US military personnel are all criminals is as irresponsible, xenophobic, and stupid as the broader notion that foreigners are criminals.

    Last year, the commander of US forces in Okinawa ordered all military personnel, civilians, and family members be confined to the bases or their residence as a result of molestation of a young Okinawan girl. Can you imagine putting a curfew on an entire city because of one chikan? How many Japanese chikan get away with similar offenses? Not only did the military punish the offender, they punished the entire military community on Okinawa.

    My point is that the US military goes through a lot of trouble to punish those who break the law in Japan. US military personnel are subject to the laws of Japan as well as the UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice) and held accountable for their actions. The injustice of this case stems not from the presence of US military personnel in Japan, the injustice is the fault of the Japanese police who failed to do their jobs.

    — Yes, quite. I think the point of previous articles on this case (less this article, admittedly) is that the negligence of the NPA is due to bilateral agreement, as unearthed documents indicate. It’s not just something systematic, it’s actual policy giving an advantage to US servicemen in the event of a crime.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>