Lost in translation: U.S. Forces and crime in Japan
Robinson, Eric L.
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This thesis argues that Japanese media disproportionately finds United States Forces Japan (USFJ) military and civilian personnel and their dependents responsible for accidents and crimes. The thesis examines how and why this pattern of reporting occurs. The thesis first introduces the pattern of disproportionate attribution of crime to USFJ and affiliated personnel in Okinawa, then finds that genuine crime rates are low even when compared to already low crime rates in the country. The thesis situates this media over-attribution pattern in a broader, Japanese-wide context of over-attribution of crime to non-Japanese residents. It then discusses further explanatory factors rooted in Okinawa’s socioeconomic and political circumstances themselves, including not only the perceived disproportionate hosting burden that Okinawa shoulders for U.S. military bases, but also political and media incentives in Okinawa that lead local political actors to emphasize these burdens without fully challenging or removing them.
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