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Sex crimes by US military personnel in Japan have been reported for decades, but an adequate response from military officials has been absent, a political activist in Washington told Press TV on Wednesday.

“There have been reports of American soldiers committing sex crimes around US bases in Japan for decades, yet the response in the part of military officials remains inadequate,” said Carla Howell, the executive director for the Libertarian National Committee.

“US military personnel, especially those in leadership positions, must be held to high standards,” she said. “Refusing to investigate allegations of sexual assault or to prosecute offenders appropriately is unacceptable.”

Howell questioned the justification for the US military’s “costly and unnecessary” presence in Japan, saying, “We must close the US military bases in Japan and bring our troops home.”

A cascade of leadership problems has surfaced in recent months in Japan, where the US military has approximately 50,000 soldiers and employs 5,500 American civilian employees.

In June, the Army suspended Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr., the commander of US Army forces in Japan for mishandling a case against a colonel on his staff accused of having an affair with a subordinate, of drunken and inappropriate behavior with other women at a military club and lastly, of sexual assault.

Harrison had let a pile of complains against the colonel slide or reacted with leniency, according to a copy of an investigative report released this week by the US Army in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by The Washington Post.

Pentagon estimates that at least 26,000 members of the military ware sexually assaulted in 2012. Observers say up to 90 percent of these cases go unreported.