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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 October 17 - 23  > Okinawans’ anger flares up against US soldiers’ assault
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2012 October 17 - 23 [US FORCES]

Okinawans’ anger flares up against US soldiers’ assault

October 17- 23, 2012
The rape of a woman by two U.S. soldiers has provoked fury among Okinawans.

The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly on October 17 called a special meeting of the U.S. base-related committee. The committee drafted a resolution protesting the U.S. forces (passed on October 22). It states that Okinawan people can no longer put up with such crimes, which happened soon after the U.S. deployed 12 Ospreys tilt-rotor aircraft to the Futenma base in the prefecture.

Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu visited the defense ministry on the same day, demanding that the central government request the U.S. authorities to tighten discipline among their servicemen and cooperate with Japan’s police investigation into the case. Nakaima said to Defense Minister Morimoto Satoshi, “A U.S. marine was arrested on charges of sexual assault on a woman in Naha City in August. Only 2 months later, U.S. soldiers assaulted another woman. That’s insane.”

Morimoto replied, “The servicemen just happened to commit a crime during their short stay in Japan. I guess that the forces’ educational and training program has some defects.” The minister’s statement is far from Okinawans’ demand for drastic measures to prevent a recurrence of such brutal crimes.

On that day, the Japanese Communist Party prefectural committee of Okinawa staged a protest action against the U.S. forces in front of the Okinawa Prefectural office building.

Before dawn on October 16, the two U.S. servicemen, attached to the Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, Texas, allegedly raped a woman walking home in the central part of Okinawa’s main island.

Okinawa Prefectural Police arrested the two on the same day. The police said the suspects were drunk.

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The Okinawa federation of women’s organizations, consisting of 25 groups in the prefecture, issued a protest statement on October 19 against the U.S. and Japanese governments about the rape incident.

At a news conference, federation chair Ishimine Masako said, “We are no longer deceived by an empty promise such as ‘tightening discipline’ on the U.S. forces. If the governments deeply reflect on the case, they should immediately remove the U.S. Ospreys and the Futenma base from Okinawa.” She added, “Unless they carry this out, we will call the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty into question and request the U.S. to withdraw all its bases from Japan.”

The Okinawa City Assembly on the same day unanimously adopted a resolution protesting against the U.S. and Japanese governments’ handling of the matter.

This is the first municipal assembly resolution on the case in the prefecture.

It states that such inhumane behavior as trampling upon women’s human rights is absolutely unforgivable and it is not too much to say that Okinawa is still a “lawless area” where the U.S. forces get their own way similar to an “occupation army”.

The decision also strongly demands that both governments apologize to and compensate the victim, and radically revise the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement.

On October 22, the Naha City Assembly also adopted a protest resolution.
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