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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 May 18 - 24  > Okinawans protest alleged murder of Japanese woman by ex-US marine
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2016 May 18 - 24 TOP3 [US FORCES]

Okinawans protest alleged murder of Japanese woman by ex-US marine

May 21, 2016
In protest against the alleged murder of a young Japanese woman by a former U.S. marine in Okinawa, about 300 local residents rallied on May 20 in front of a gate at the U.S. Kadena Air Base.

The Okinawa Prefectural Police on May 19 arrested a 32-year-old civilian employee at the air base, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato. The ex-U.S. marine is suspected of abandoning the corpse of a 20-year-old Japanese female who was living in Uruma City, Okinawa.

The protest rally was organized by local trade unions and plaintiffs of lawsuits seeking compensation for the noise pollution caused by U.S. aircraft stationed at the Kadena base.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken said in his speech, “Here is yet another incident that ended in tragedy.” He called on participants to continue working together to remove all U.S. bases from Okinawa, noting that Tokyo and Washington are just waiting for local people’s anger to calm down and are aiming to build more U.S. military facilities in the Henoko and Takae districts in the prefecture.

The victim’s former classmates said, “I’m speechless with great shock and anger at this crime,” and “I became acutely aware that we cannot live here in peace as long as the bases remain.”

On the same day, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo said to reporters in the JCP head office in Tokyo, “The U.S. military has repeatedly promised to ‘prevent recurrence’ of such crimes and ‘tighten discipline’ among servicepersons, but they have never kept their word.” He added, “The most effective prevention measure is to eliminate all U.S. bases. The JCP will continue to make its utmost efforts to block the planned construction of a U.S. base in the Henoko coastal area in Nago City.”

In the meantime, lawmaker Akamine and a group of JCP members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly made representations to the regional bureaus of the Defense and Foreign ministries. Representatives of 16 local women’s organizations also held a joint news conference in the prefectural office building and demanded appropriate compensation be paid to the bereaved family as well as the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Okinawa.

Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi released a statement pointing out that the incident is the extremity of violence and “absolutely intolerable”. The local daily Ryukyu Shimpo carried an editorial on May 20 titled, “Tokyo & Washington should be held responsible for this crime - the only preventive measure is removal of US bases”.

Past related article:
> JCP Kami: Crimes won’t be eliminated as long as US bases remain in Japan [March 23, 2016]
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