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USFJ commander announces steps to strengthen SOFA implementation, SOFA member accountability

RELEASE #2016007 | July 18, 2016

Yokota Air Base, Japan —


 The Commander of U.S. Forces in Japan announced today several steps the U.S. military has taken over the past several months to reinforce

accountability and ensure the highest standards of behavior by U.S. service members, Status of Force Agreement status civilians, and designated contract employees living in Japan.



“For 71 years, the people of the United States and Japan have counted themselves as friends, and our alliance has become the cornerstone for peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.  It has been a stunning success story, particularly if you look at where we are today. As we continue to work through the array of issues affecting our security interests, I am confident that both of our nations are properly committed to sustaining, strengthening and further developing our alliance to our mutual benefit.


The Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation between our two nations, which obligates the United States to defend Japan against armed attack, calls for a Status of Force Agreement, also known as “the SOFA.”  In effect, the SOFA enables the United States forces to fulfill its treaty obligations to defend Japan. Consistent with international practice, the SOFA establishes the legal framework for the presence of the U.S. service members, their families, and certain civilians and contractors who live and work in Japan.


The SOFA is very clear – people who commit crimes in Japan, are subject to arrest by Japanese police and prosecution by Japanese authorities. In addition, SOFA status allows for the entire range of disciplinary measures available under U.S. laws and regulations.


Recent events have led me to reassess the procedures we use to administer the SOFA.  Some of the steps we have taken over the past several months to reinforce accountability and ensure the highest standards of behavior include the following:


  • Civilian employees and contractors with SOFA status attend training events, just like military members.

  • For contractors and civilians under SOFA, I have added contract specifications that all workers will sign an acknowledgement of SOFA responsibilities, which can later be used, if needed, in any adjudication or incident review.

  • Training programs and tougher standards were updated specifically focusing on alcohol-related incidents and the dangers of driving while intoxicated (DUI). 

  • In April, we enacted a new Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) standard for on-base drivers to match the standard under Japanese law.

  • If a SOFA member is convicted of a DUI, they will lose their driver’s license for at least one year.

  • SOFA members will not be issued a driver’s license without receiving updated training that concentrates on the specific challenges of Japanese driving.

  • Japanese cultural training and education processes have been enhanced for all U.S. personnel with SOFA status in cooperation with local advisors. U.S. service members and SOFA status civilians receive training that includes Japanese law, customs, and responsibilities as SOFA status personnel.

  • Additionally, in coordination with our GOJ counterparts, we will begin an education campaign to explain the SOFA and the options available to hold SOFA-status personnel responsible for criminal behavior or any form of misconduct.


All U.S. military commanders in Japan are committed to redoubling our efforts to educate the force and ensure our service members, family members, civilian, and contract employees understand that all acts of misconduct are unacceptable.


The service members assigned in Japan are military professionals who are committed to the defense of Japan – at the potential cost of their own lives. The standard of behavior I expect is unwavering professionalism and zero tolerance for criminal behavior. The overwhelming majority of our U.S. service members, family members, and civilians uphold the highest standards of conduct, and I am justifiably proud of them.


As the leader of all U.S. forces in Japan, I owe it to our service members, and to our hosts, to set the standards that enable U.S. forces to support our treaty obligations while ensuring the friendship between our nations will endure in perpetuity. These are just a few of the steps we have taken, in consultation with our partners in the Government of Japan, to ensure that our members remain good guests and neighbors of the people of Japan.


My most important responsibility as USFJ commander is to be ready, when directed, to facilitate the application of decisive combat power for the defense of Japan. The SOFA sets the conditions that makes our alliance work. The daily efforts of our service members along with the men and women of Japan's Self Defense Forces ensure the people of this region live in peace and prosperity. I truly appreciate the support of the Japanese government – and indeed, the Japanese people – in this important endeavor.”









在日米軍司令部 報道資料                                   



在日米軍司令官発表 日米地位協定履行強化策と地位協定対象者の責任



横田基地 - 在日米軍司令官は本日、軍人、日米地位協定対象の軍属と日本に滞在する契約従業員が負う責任を強化し最高基準の行動を確実にする為、過去数ヶ月以上に渡って取られた措置について発表致します。



在日米軍司令官 ドーラン中将声明:
















  • 地位協定対象の軍属従業員と契約従業員は軍人と同様の訓練課程に参加する。


  • 地位協定対象の契約従業員と軍属に対し、わたくしは特別条項を付け加えました。この特別条項は全従業員が地位協定の責任を確認し署名するもので、後に全ての判決または事件の再考に使用されます。


  • 基準は具体的にアルコールに関連した事件と酒気帯び運転の危険(飲酒運転)に重点を置きながら更新されました。


  • 4月には基地内運転者に対して日本の法律下と同じ基準に合わせた新しい血液中の血中アルコール濃度(BAC)を制定しました。

  • もし、地位協定対象者が飲酒運転で有罪となった場合は、最低でも1年間の運転免許停止となります。

  • 地位協定対象者は日本における具体的な取り組みに重点を置いている最新の訓練を受けていない場合、運転免許証は発行されません。


  • 日本に関する専門家と協力しながら全ての地位協定対象者と米軍職員に対する日本文化訓練と教育課程が増加されました。


  • 更に、日本政府のカウンターパートとの調整により、わたくし達は地位協定に関する説明と地位協定対象者としての責任と犯罪または全ての違反行為に関連して対象者が選択すべき行動に関する教育キャンペーンを始めます。











  • USFJ Public Affairs Office (J021)