Station police reach out to Japanese inspectors
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni hosted the Outreach Orientation Program for Hiroshima Police Officers from Hatsukaichi Police Station at the Station Judge Advocates court room here Feb. 7, 2013.
Japanese police officers received briefs from station personnel on various military procedures. The goal was to help them better understand their military law enforcement and legal counterparts and to foster cooperative efforts between base and Japanese police officials.
“MCAS Iwakuni hosted the Outreach Orientation Program for Hiroshima Police Officers,” said Bobby T. Shibazaki, Operational Representative with the Naval Criminal Investigate Services. “Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Provost Marshal’s Office, Public Affairs Office and the Staff Judge Advocate, teamed up and gave twenty-five Japanese police officers from Hatsukaichi Police Station, Hiroshima Prefecture, briefings on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.”
Shibazaki also said the police officers received briefs on U.S. military law enforcement, criminal investigation, intelligence, force protection, and legal and judicial mission aboard the station.
“Most police officers have never dealt with U.S. forces in Japan,” said Shibazaki. “Japanese police stations, especially in cities that don’t host U.S. bases, are not familiar on how to deal with active duty personnel or SOFA members or what military organization to notify and coordinate with. This outreach initiative exposes our Japanese counterparts to U.S. military operations in law enforcement, criminal investigation, intelligence, force protection and legal matters. It also identifies base representatives with bilingual language capabilities to contact and coordinate for specific issues quickly and efficiently.”
Throughout the day, each class provided additional insight to the way the U.S. conducts courtroom procedures.
“I learned about many things, and the examples and demonstrations were very helpful,” said Takanari Kondo, Hatsukaichi police inspector. “The part where they were talking about the suspects in courts-martial and during court sessions, how the U.S is trying to prioritize the cases, in Japan that is a very important aspect.”
Shibazaki added this outreach program is new and will be provided again in the future to assist officers, both on and off station, to better understand each other.
“We will continue to reach out to our Japanese counterparts to further enhance our working relationship,” said Shibazaki. “As Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni continues to transform, increasing the number of facilities, personnel, and assets in the future, I anticipate expanding the outreach initiative by offering it to Japanese Self Defense Forces’ law enforcement, investigative and intelligence agencies, and the prosecutor’s offices.”
The importance of cultural familiarization was not lost on the Japanese attendees.
“I feel that since Japan is an allied nation with the U.S., it is important that we work together and have a strong connection so that we can improve our relations in the future and better cooperate,” said Takanari.