b) The arbitrator referred to in point (a) is chosen, by mutual agreement between the two governments, from among the nationals of Japan holding or holding a high-level judicial function. “These criteria must be defined so that those who can be designated as members of the civilian component have the skills or knowledge to meet the requirements of the mission,” the agreement states. This agreement and its agreed revisions will remain in force as long as the Mutual Cooperation and Security Treaty remains in force, unless an agreement between the two governments terminates it sooner. Contractors who are considered “usually domiciled” in Japan or who already have a non-SOFA visa will be denied SOFA status under the agreement. TOKYO – The United States and Japan signed an agreement Monday that could end coverage of the Force Status Agreement for some military contractors without specific skills. The contractor must be “essential to the mission of the U.S. armed forces and have a high level of skills or knowledge to meet mission requirements,” the agreement said. 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 system in the United States, the United States,