Rape Victim Wants Japan to Do More on US Military Crimes

Catherine Fisher speaks at a meeting with Japanese government officials in Tokyo, April 6. A U.S. sailor raped her in Japan, and she is demanding that Tokyo do more to protect victims of  rape by U.S. service members. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Catherine Fisher speaks at a meeting with Japanese government officials in Tokyo, April 6. A U.S. sailor raped her in Japan, and she is demanding that Tokyo do more to protect victims of rape by U.S. service members. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO -- A woman who was raped by a U.S. sailor in Japan is demanding that Tokyo do more to protect crime victims of U.S. military personnel stationed here.

Catherine Fisher met for an hour on Friday with foreign and defense ministry officials in the Japanese parliament.

Fisher, an Australian and longtime Japan resident, was raped in 2002 and awarded damages by a Japanese civil court. Japanese prosecutors, however, refused to pursue criminal charges.

Fisher tracked the sailor she accused of sexual assault on her own, because he had already left for the U.S. In 2012, she sued Bloke Deans in Wisconsin Circuit Court to claim the damages awarded in Japan. She won the lawsuit in 2013, but demanded only $1 -- to make a point, she said.

Deans denied he assaulted Fisher but acknowledged in the U.S. settlement "the evidence may prove otherwise," according to documents provided by his attorney, Alex Flynn. "Mr. Deans has paid that dollar and the matter is now concluded," Flynn said.

Fisher is now demanding compensation for the family of a Japanese woman in whose death a former Marine was convicted last year, as well as for other victims.

Such crimes by U.S. military personnel have set off angry protests, although their immunity from Japanese prosecution has gradually decreased.

"You must and you can do something. Everybody else is doing something except for the Japanese government," Fisher said.

Takahiro Suzuki, a deputy director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Fisher that negotiations were underway with the U.S. to win compensation for the family of the murdered Japanese woman. Fisher demanded the Japanese government give compensation immediately, and not wait for a U.S. decision. She  has been a rare proponent and counsel for women in Japan, where rape victims tend to remain silent.

Although opinion may be divided about the presence of U.S. troops in Japan under a bilateral treaty, there was no disagreement that murder and rape were wrong, she said. "You couldn't stop that," she told the officials, referring to the crime. "You have to take responsibility."

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