More precisely, a U.S. consulate would have helped. There is one on Okinawa, where most American military are stationed. (Not that many are near the Embassy in Tokyo.) One website advises:
If you have access to a U.S. military post:
- You can go to the Post Adjutant or Personnel Office.
- These offices can copy and certify your records so you don't have to send original documents through the mail.
"They were told" might be true. Or it might be a way to cover up, "We forgot to ask."