Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Letter to Bush from the Women of Okinawa

February 13, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
Consul General Kevin Maher
United States Consulate General in Naha, Okinawa
Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer
US Military’s Okinawa Area Coordinator

We protest the sexual violence against an Okinawan girl by a U.S. Marine
We demand withdrawal of the U.S. military from Okinawa

We, people of Okinawa, particularly women, are outraged at another heinous crime committed by a U.S. serviceman on February 10th, 2008.

We have been imposed the burden of hosting U.S. military and bases. For long 62 years, the lives of women and children in Okinawa have been made insecure by the presence of the U.S. military and bases.

The fact that the perpetrator took the victim from city center where local residents spend their leisure time on holidays and weekends, demonstrates the close proximity between our daily life and the violence and danger caused by the U.S. military. The perpetrator, a Marine who belongs to Camp Courtney lives outside of the base in a local residential area. Why should U.S. soldiers be allowed to freely enter a residential area at any time? Why is a safe environment for children and women not assured in Okinawa? The fear of the victim, the anger of her family, the shock and anxiety of the local residents are all immeasurable.

The U.S. military has promised over and over “the requirement for the highest standards of conduct,” every time a crime was committed. It is evident that these promises resulted in nothing. It needs to be reminded that in the past, during long weekends such as Independence Day weekend, many girls were revealed to the violence of U.S. soldiers. Behind the crimes that have been made public are many more women and children who could not speak out about the violence they were exposed to.

We call for withdrawal of the U.S. military in order to abolish such violence. We argue that the military is a violence-intrinsic institution. And true security cannot be realized by the military in our community nor between nations.

We demand:
careful and adequate psychological care of the victim,
apology and compensation to the victim,
strict punishment of the perpetrator,
tighter discipline and control over soldiers living in off-base housings.

The realignment and transformation of the US-Japan military alliance will only intensify the functions of the U.S. bases in Okinawa. We demand withdrawal of the U.S. military from Okinawa and closure of the U.S. bases in Okinawa.

Co-chairs, (Ms.) TAKAZATO Suzuyo, (Ms.) ITOKAZU Keiko,
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence
3-29-41-102 Kumoji, Naha, Okinawa, 900-0015
Ph. Fax. 098-864-1539


Anonymous said...

well said! i am in full support of this.


Anonymous said...

I agree. They have every right to feel as they do, and their demands need to be met.

Jamie said...

I feel that this letter speaks words of common sense, something our world is strongly lacking these days... I completely support the people of Okinawa in their demands.

Literary Auntie said...

Hear, hear.

Anonymous said...

This letter while demanding several items that should be met also has some undesirable and unwarranted demands.

Should the perpetrator be punished? Surely he should, if indeed it was rape and he is the one who did it.

Should controls be strict for off-duty personnel visiting residential or commercial areas? Again yes within reasonable limits, ie; following local laws and curfews.

However, removing an entire base due to the actions on a few men who are exceptions to average behavior is an imbalanced and imprudent decision. It will have far-reaching consequences well beyond the possible immediate mollification of tensions. Also the girl who has claimed assault will not be indemnified by such action.

Using this incident for political power and maneuvering is as deplorable as when politician in the US give lip-service to deities in order to secure positive reaction from theistic minded people. Any decision to withdraw a whole base will affect not just that girl or the others who were inferred to have been assaulted, but the local economy, trade relations and defensive structures would be impacted as well.

A more efficient though controversial solution would involve relaxing moral viewpoints on legalized prostitution. This is not a perfect solution but a possible one with less negative economic impact and social upheaval. With such relief as a possibility the likelihood of a soldier perpetrating a similar incident and causing such egregious damage would diminish.

Anonymous said...

Of course this is a very terrible thing that happened IF it did happen, but moving all of the troops off the island wouldn't be very smart. BTW, the girl who claims she was raped was arrested a week prior to this incident for prostitution. Still not saying its right but it does make you wonder about this girls credibility.