Historic suit filed against U.S. serviceman


TOKYO (majirox news) — For the first time, an Australian citizen in Japan has brought suit in the United States against a former U.S. serviceman. Catherine Fisher filed the suit in the United States on May 11, 2012 against former U.S. Navy seaman Bloke Deans.

She is seeking to enforce a Japanese judgement given in Tokyo in 2004. This civil judgement ruled against Deans and ordered him to pay a sum equivalent to about 38,000 dollars, but which still remains unpaid. Fisher claims that Deans raped her near a U.S. Navy base in Japan 10 years ago, while he was still serving in the U.S. military.

“I’m hoping that my victory by winning this case in the United States will deter other U.S. military servicemen from raping, and then deciding to flee the country and receive immunity,” Fisher said. “I feel that we will be able to find them, as I have, and that we will receive the justice that we deserve.”

A security agreement, known as SOFA exists between Japan and the U.S. For all practical purposes, it sets forth the rights and privileges of U.S. service personnel serving in Japan.

Toshihiro Yoshida, author of The Secret Deal, said, “There was a secret deal that was included in the 1953 treaty. It said if a crime wasn’t considered important, Japan would give up its jurisdiction in Japan. The indictment rate of Japan is currently very low because of this secret deal. I believe this is the reason Catherine Fisher could not prosecute her case in Japan.”

There were 333 reported sexual assaults in the Marine Corps in 2011, according to Yosida. The three most dangerous bases were in North Carolina, Japan and California.

“Since the Japanese government always gives way to the United States, it will be difficult to change soon,” he said. “I strongly want Japan to exercise jurisdiction of the misconduct by U.S. soldiers. I hope Catherine’s appeal in the U.S. will help to change the present situation for victims.”

Meanwhile, Fisher’s lawyers in Milwaukee at the Perkins Cole issued a statement saying, “We are confident that the Milwaukee court will recognize the Japanese Court’s judgment and enforce it against Mr. Deans.”

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