A Comparative Study of the United States Status of Forces Agreements with Korea and Japan
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This thesis examines the argument that the Republic of Korea-United States Status of Forces Agreement (ROK-U.S. SOFA) affords greater immunities and protections to U.S. service personnel than does the Japan-U.S. SOFA. One significant source of tension for Korean-American relations over the years has been the belief of many Koreans that Japan is given greater authority to prosecute SOFA incidents because A) the Japan-U.S. SOFA is written to Japan's advantage and B) the United States unfairly favors Japan in the application of SOFA Criminal Jurisdiction. This thesis will test the accuracy of those beliefs. It will do this by first comparing the formal provisions in the SOFAs with the two countries. It will then compare their application in high-profile SOFA-related crimes and accidents over the past two decades both in South Korea and Japan to identify any possible pattern of inequity. By comparing the language of both SOFAs today with examples of how the United States has applied that language, this thesis finds that the language and application SOFA Criminal Jurisdiction provisions have changed to favor Korea today compared to Japan. This thesis also finds that the application in both countries has changed to give more deference to Host countries.
- Masters Theses