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Okinawa police swiftly wrap up investigation into robbery by SOFA personnel

  • May 27, 2020
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that on Tuesday, the Okinawa prefectural police sent papers to the local prosecutors on a U.S. Army serviceman and an American base worker who allegedly robbed a currency exchange shop in Chatan on May 12. The daily claimed that the police concluded their investigation in just two weeks, which is relatively quick given that their probes into offenses by SOFA personnel have often been slow due in part to the cumbersome procedures involved, such as translating documents. Instead of asking for the pre-indictment transfer of the suspects, the police chose to seek cooperation from the U.S. military while gathering evidence. An unnamed Okinawa detective reportedly underscored that the SOFA did not stand in the way of the local investigation by saying: “The U.S. military was cooperative. Our side was able to take the lead” in building the case.


Okinawa Times, however, presented a different take on the police investigation, noting that the police refused to disclose details such as the nature of the relationship between the two suspects and their motives for the robbery. The police reportedly rebuffed reporters’ repeated queries on whether they had asked the U.S. military to hand over the two SOFA members before indictment. The daily asserted that the police were “very secretive” in their briefings this time and a retired police officer claimed that the Okinawa police were reluctant to disclose information perhaps out of deference to the Kantei, as previous investigations into crimes involving SOFA members have required coordination with the central government.

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