On Aug. 4, Catherine Jane Fisher, who was sexually assaulted by a U.S. servicemember and has openly discussed crimes involving U.S. military personnel, met a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official in the National Diet building and handed a petition that calls for clarifying the standards for the transfer of custody of servicemember perpetrators. Lower House member Akamine Seiken of the Japanese Communist Party was present.
According to the Japan-U.S. joint committee agreement reached in October 1995, Japan can submit requests for the transfer of custody even before indictment if it has a “material interest in specific cases, such as murder or rape.”
According to MOFA, Japan has thus far requested the transfer of custody in only six cases. The case involving Fisher is not among them. She said that she had decided to call for the clarification of standards concerning the transfer of custody after concluding “my case was not regarded as a case in which the Japanese government had a “material interest.” (Abridged)