Navy ‘fully supports’ USFJ’s crackdown on misconduct
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy says it “fully supports” the U.S. Forces Japan policy letter announced last week calling for a militarywide crackdown on criminal misconduct.
But no new restrictions — beyond those enacted in recent months — are planned in the short term, said officials with Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan.
The letter, signed by USFJ chief Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright and senior Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines Corps commanders in Japan, urges a unified approach to “take all necessary efforts to reduce and prevent” misconduct by U.S. military and Department of Defense civilians in Japan.
It called for a “culture that rejects misconduct” on both individual and leadership levels.
Although the “crime rate is low and has decreased over the years,” the U.S.-Japan alliance potentially could be jeopardized by individual acts of misconduct, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, J. Thomas Schieffer, said in a USFJ news release. Schieffer took part in a meeting of top commanders in February to help develop the policy letter.
“A single criminal incident can undermine our relationship with our Japanese neighbors and security partners,” Schieffer said.
Several recent incidents — including the fatal beating of a Yokosuka woman and a drunken late-night break-in at a Japanese junior high school — involved Navy personnel around Yokosuka Naval Base. CNFJ responded to the incidents in January and February with several new policies geared toward stemming crime and other misconduct.
“Examples of recent initiatives include the general order, which places cutoff times on the consumption of alcohol, increased numbers of shore patrol, and the curfew put in place by the Kitty Hawk Strike Group Commander,” said CNFJ spokesman Cmdr. John Wallach.
Those efforts joined others, such as liberty card programs, civilian clothing policies, mandatory orientation and indoctrination courses, stringent drug testing and traditional leadership and mentoring programs already in place as an effort to “eradicate misconduct,” Wallach said.
The Navy in Yokosuka also is actively pursuing the USFJ policy letter’s second directive, which is to improve incident reporting and analysis among U.S. and Japanese law enforcement and government officials.
The U.S. Navy and local Japanese groups and officials formed a joint committee last month to combat crime in Yokosuka, whoever commits it.
Effective strategies used in any of the military branches will be evaluated and shared at the next component commanders’ conference, according to USFJ.