A few headlines

11 Nov

A few of the major news headlines in Japan right now:

  • Tatsuya Ichihashi, who was a fugitive in Japan accused of murdering a British English-language teacher named Lindsay Hawker near Tokyo in 2007, was finally arrested today in Osaka.

    He has had plastic surgery done in an obvious attempt to alter his appearance to try to remain on the lam.

    The father of Lindsay Hawker was interviewed via telephone in England by the Japanese television news media and he expressed his relief that his daughter’s accused murderer has finally been captured after over two years.

  • U.S. President Obama is due to make an official visit to Tokyo this Friday and Saturday.

    Before his visit, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invited him to visit their cities…as they are the only cities to have been hit with atomic bombs by the United States.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki have invited every U.S. President since the end of WW2 to visit their cities…but due to the potential of an uproar in America if they did visit, every President has declined the invitation (former Presidents have paid the cities a visit, but never a sitting President)….until now.

    U.S. President Obama told the Japanese media that he will make an official visit to those cities while he’s in office. He said he won’t be able to visit them on this trip due to a tight schedule, but he will visit them on another trip to Japan before his Presidency ends.

  • The U.S. military in Okinawa has arrested a U.S. solider on hit-and-run charges. The soldier hit an Okinawan man and left him to bleed to death in the street.

    The Okinawan public and government want the U.S. military to hand the soldier over to Japanese authorities to be tried in Japanese court.

    This case comes at a time when the people of Okinawa are trying to get some of the U.S. military bases in Okinawa moved off their island and relocated either to mainland Japan or a U.S. territory such as Guam or Hawaii.

  • Also, it has been discovered that members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan have been abusing a privilege that official U.S. military vehicles have.
    An agreement that the U.S. military has with Japan is that official U.S. military vehicles traveling off of their bases on Japanese toll-highways on official military business can use special passes and travel without paying any of the tolls…the taxpayers in Japan (includes me) pay their toll-fares.

    Well, it seems that the U.S. military has been giving the passes to any members of the military who want to take a personal trip around Japan on their personal free time.

6 Responses to “A few headlines”

  1. becomingjapanese November 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    From what I’ve read about the US not turning over members of the military to the Japanese government for suspected crimes, the issue seems to revolve around the process of interrogation, and that the interrogations are not recorded.

    There is a lot of pressure to force confessions (hence the amazingly high conviction rate) and the US will not consider turning over military suspects unless that policy is changed, and would allow for presenting the process of interrogations as evidence of coercion during the trial.


    • tokyo5 November 17, 2009 at 1:55 am #

      Actually, there was a case about ten years ago or so that was big news here. It involved a group of U.S. Marines in Okinawa that gang-raped a 12-year old girl.

      The U.S. military took the men into custody…and then simply sent them back to America.
      No jail time!
      The Japanese media actually tracked them down in America and they were living free lives.

      Japanese people were outraged and demanded a change in the Status Of Forces Agreement(SOFA) (which is the agreement between U.S. military stationed overseas and the host countries).

      The SOFA was changed so that U.S. military who commit major crimes (murder, rape, etc) off-base in Japan are tried in the regular Japanese court system.

      The victim in this current hit-and-run case in Okinawa died, so Japanese people believe the U.S. serviceman should be tried in a Japanese court.


  2. Sir Pent November 11, 2009 at 4:48 am #

    Handing out free toll passes…people can be corrupt anywhere…


    • tokyo5 November 12, 2009 at 12:33 am #

      I’m not so sure.

      The taxpayers in many countries (including Japan…and the U.S., I believe) pay for government officials’ travel expenses (including road tolls), and no one abuses the privilege, usually.


  3. tornadoes28 November 11, 2009 at 3:43 am #

    Obama’s schedule is tighter due to arriving later than originally planned. He is attending the memorial service at Ft. Hood in Texas for the 13 soldiers who murdered on the base.


    • tokyo5 November 12, 2009 at 12:29 am #

      Yes, he was originally scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday and have a free day (that he may have used to visit Hiroshima / Nagasaki).


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