Japanese Officials Indict Private Military Contractors

Japanese Officials Indict Private Military Contractors

Two former PMCs who allegedly spirited a Nissan executive out of the island nation in a hollowed-out chest could spend the next three years in prison.

Michael and Peter Taylor were the principals in the American National Security Corporation, an overseas military contractor that specializes in rapid, surreptitious exits. ANSC usually charged clients between $20,000 and $2 million for its services. After officials investigating financial fraud at Nissan issued a warrant for company CEO Carolos Ghosn, he allegedly paid ANSC $1.3 million to get him out of Dodge. Investigators say that ANSC smuggled Ghosn onto a private jet bound for his naitive Lebanon, which does not have an extradition agreement with Japan. The jet’s owner and pilots have already been convicted of various charges stemming from this incident.

At the time, Ghosn claimed the charges against him were frivolous and that Japan’s justice system is “rigged.” He was eventually arrested in Japan.

Japan and the American Military

Japan’s relationship with the U.S. military is complex, to say the least. It is not always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys, a fact the above story illustrates so well.

During World War II, the Japanese Empire was guilty of some Nazi-level atrocities. The so-called Rape of Nanking is a good example.

In December 1937, invading Japanese forces occupied Nanking, which was then China’s capital. Over the next several weeks, Japanese troops murdered an untold number of people. Estimates range from about 20,000 to more than 300,000. Rape and looting were rampant, as well.

The Americans had their own checkered record. Kennedy/Johnson Defense Secretary Robert McNamera, who was a low-level Army Air Corps officer during the war, once said that the firebombing of Japanese cities was basically a war crime. A single bombing run over Tokyo in March 1945 incinerated over 100,000 acres of Japan’s capital, killing about 100,000 people and displacing over a million others. All these years later, this attack is still the single deadliest bombing raid in world history.

Then there is the atomic bomb. Conspiracy theorists insist that the United States dropped the bombs on Japan to study the effects of radiation poisoning. There is little evidence to support this theory, but that does not mean it is entirely untrue.

As part of the postwar peace treaty, Japan reduced its armed forces to essentially National Guard levels. So, the nation is entirely dependent on the United States for protection from China, North Korea, and other neighborhood bullies. For the most part, the Japanese do not like this subservient position. They especially do not like American troops on their soil.

Current and Future Contractor Duties

Enter private military contractors. Contractors help America fulfil its treaty obligations without antagonizing the Japanese or symbolizing a military occupation whose time has long passed.

These treaty obligations mostly require logistical support. Firepower is a lot more important than manpower. In 1415’s Battle of Agincourt, which was immortalized in Shakespeare’s Henry V, a tiny English force used advanced longbows to inflict over 8,000 casualties on a much larger French army. Drones, cruise missiles, and other sophisticated weapons are today’s longbows. Contractors maintain these weapons and keep them in battle-ready shape. That is not an easy task, since these weapons spend most of their time in warehouses.

Contractors must also upgrade physical facilities, like airbases and docks, to keep up with the demands of modern warfare. If troops must deploy to Japan in an emergency, there is no time for such improvements. They must be done now.

Many of these construction projects use local workers. That arrangement pumps some money into the local economy and also invests the community in the project. High local involvement decreases local antagonism. It is against human nature to bite the hand that feeds you.

American politicians also like contractors. Private military contractors are usually a separate line item in the Pentagon’s budget. So, military spending appears to be more limited.

A few words about contractor oversight. In many countries, mercenaries operate with few or no government constraints. The laws are not very strict, and politicians are reluctant to enforce them. Private military contractors are different. U.S. law applies to overseas contractors. This law also limits their duties. Contractors cannot participate in offensive operations. In Japan, they can maintain facilities, as mentioned above, and guard perimeters. But that is about it.

Injury Compensation Available

A serious illness or injury usually means months or years without a paycheck. Most families live hand to mouth, so there is no way they could weather such a financial storm. The resulting emotional stress makes it almost impossible to recover from an injury and get back to work.

To deal with this issue and get victims back on the job, the Defense Base Act provides several levels of lost wage replacement.

  • Temporary Total Disability: Most falls and other trauma injuries cause temporary disabilities. These victims cannot work while they recover. So, the DBA pays two-thirds of the victim’s Average Weekly Wage, usually for the duration of the TTD.
  • Temporary Partial Disability: After a few months of treatment, many victims “graduate” from TTDs to TPDs. These individuals can work, but they must perform clerical or other light-duty work. In these cases, the DBA pays two-thirds of the difference between the old and new incomes.
  • Permanent Total Disability: Serious occupational diseases, like toxic exposure cancer, are often completely disabling. Based on their medical, educational, and experiential profile, as well as the state of the economy, these individuals cannot work. To compensate them for future lost wages, a lump sum or other payment is usually available.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: Hearing loss is a good example of an occupational disease PPD. Other victims cannot fully recover from their trauma injuries. They might have a bad knee, back, or shoulder for the rest of their lives. Long-term compensation is available, largely based on the extent and nature of the disability.

So much for the availability of compensation. The amount of fair compensation is sometimes more difficult to ascertain.

To determine the AWW in temporary disability claims, an attorney must usually do some homework. This determination usually requires more than a calendar and a calculator. For example, this benefit must reflect future lost income, such as missed overtime or performance bonuses.

As for permanent disabilities, the DBA usually divides these claims into scheduled and unscheduled claims. But some disabilities do not squarely fit into one or the other.

For more information about DBA medical bill benefits, contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A.