The U.S.-Japan Agreement on the Status of the Armed Forces () is an agreement between Japan and the United States of America, signed in Washington on January 19, 1960, the same day as the revised security treaty between the United States and Japan. It is an agreement on the status of the armed forces (SOFA), as defined in Article VI of this treaty, in which “the use of a […] Facilities and territories [granted to the U.S.] as well as the status of U.S. forces in Japan.” It replaced the former U.S.-Japan Administrative Agreement, which regulates such issues under the original 1951 Security Treaty. In addition, certain features of the agreement create areas of perceived privilege for U.S. service members. For example, because SOFA excludes most U.S. military personnel from Japanese visa and passport laws, incidents have occurred in the past where U.S. military personnel were returned to the United States before being charged in Japanese courts. In addition, the agreement requires that U.S. authorities, when a U.S. service provider is suspected of a crime but are not captured by Japanese authorities off a base, must remain in custody until the service member is formally charged by the Japanese.  Although the agreement also requires U.S.
cooperation with Japanese authorities in investigations, Japanese authorities have often denounced the fact that they still do not have regular access to questions or interrogations of U.S. service providers, making it more difficult for Japanese prosecutors to prepare cases for indictment.  This situation is compounded by the singularity of the Japanese pre-charge hearings, which focus on access to confessions as a precondition for prosecution, often without a lawyer and can last up to 23 days.  Given the difference between this interrogation system and the U.S. system, the United States has argued that the extraterritoriality granted to its military under SOFA is necessary to grant them the same rights as those that exist under the U.S. criminal justice system. However, since the Okinawan rape case in 1995, the United States has agreed to consider putting suspects back in serious cases such as rape and murder before charge.  On January 16, 2017, Japan and the United States signed “an additional agreement to limit and clarify the definition of the civilian component protected by the Status of the Armed Forces Agreement.”   This agreement came after the rape and murder of an Okinawa woman in 2016, allegedly by a civilian contractor employed at the U.S. air base in Kadena, Okinawa Prefecture. If you are a subordinate military personnel who was mentioned above and does not belong to the United States. Citizens, the visa is not really necessary, but we can issue a SOFA visa to facilitate your entry into Japan.
If you are a military contractor who travels to U.S. bases in Japan and stays less than 90 days, you are generally qualified as a short-term visitor. Please check if you need a visa [with the window on the left.] We`re sorry. The page you requested was not found. It may have been moved or deleted. Please visit the top page or visit our websitemap.