Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Protests Spreading in Okinawa

Protests spreading in Okinawa over alleged rape by U.S. Marine+
Feb 12 09:10 PM US/Eastern
NAHA, Japan, Feb. 13 (AP) - (Kyodo)

Protests continued to spread Wednesday in Okinawa Prefecture in the wake of the alleged rape by a U.S. Marine of a 14-year-old girl over the weekend.

Two local assemblies adopted a joint protest resolution, while Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, an influential civic group that played a key role in a massive rally in 1995, sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush.

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Itsunori Onodera, meanwhile, is slated to meet later in the day with Marine Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, who heads the U.S. military in Okinawa, at the Foreign Ministry's office in the prefecture to call for disciplinary and preventive measures.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer will visit the Okinawa prefectural government for talks with Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima in the afternoon to convey regret over the incident, according to prefectural government officials.

In the joint resolution, the assemblies of the town of Chatan, where the alleged rape occurred Sunday night, and the city of Okinawa, where the Marine allegedly met the girl, called for preventive measures, an apology and compensation for the victim.

The women's civic group also called for an apology and compensation in the letter to the U.S. president, while stressing the need to provide mental care to children who have been victims of violence by U.S. military personnel or who have been traumatized by such incidents.

The group also called in the letter for strict punishment of the suspect and for overseeing U.S. military personnel living outside bases.

In 1995, when a 12-year-old girl was raped by three U.S. servicemen in Okinawa, the group called for protest activities at a press conference held three days after the incident came to light.

The group and two other organizations of women successively held protest rallies which eventually coalesced into a single massive demonstration. The protest moves led Japan and the United States to agree the following year to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futemma Air Station and to vacate some other U.S. military facilities in Okinawa.

Uncertainties remain over whether the latest incident will head in the same direction as in 1995.
Suzuyo Takazato, a former Naha assembly member who belongs to the women's group, said, "Things were not planned from the beginning to move that way in 1995."

In the latest case, a 38-year-old staff sergeant at Camp Courtney is suspected of raping the girl inside a car parked on a street by a park in Chatan on Sunday night.

The suspect, identified as Tyrone Hadnott, was arrested Monday by local police and sent to prosecutors on Tuesday. He denies raping the girl, but has admitted to touching her in the vehicle, the police said.

1 comment:

Kinuye Oshiro-Avery said...

We are not surprised, the US Military treats Okinawans as "there for the taking, or humiliating".
We filmed a story following the crash of the Helicopter in 2004, won an Award in New York City for Best Historical Documentary, for Why Okinawa? Messages from the people, US Citizens express shock when they see what goes on, then quickly forget about Okinawa.

Rapes, robberies, etc, People Protest, then nothing really happens.
Japan itself does not want the bases on its home islands, "Better to keep the problems on Okinawa", but how long is this going to contine?
Why do Okinawans have to be continually victimized, and abused?
Even though control of Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972, nothing has changed for the people. The abuses of the Military keep occurring.
When the citizens in Ginowan complain about the noise, the helicopters fly lower, and more frequently, with the pilots looking out and down at the people.
Their supervisors are the ones that need to be punished as well as the perpetrators of these crimes.
The Military arrested for sexual crimes should be treated as they are anywhere else and labeled as they are, "Sexual Predators" and a Tag should follow them everywhere, as a "Sex Offender" who has to register as such.

In 1995, 3 marines raped a 12 year old and this still brings anger to all Okinawans, but what happened to the men? were they labeled as Sex Offenders?
When they were released from jail, were they required to register as sex offenders?
One of the Marines, upon his return to the USA raped a college girl, then murdered her before committing suicide...Is anyone aware of this?

Who is responsible for the girl's murder? We say, the military shares blames for not forcing him to register as a sex offender and not tracking him upon his release from jail.
Why does the Military take such great steps to protect these predators?

These incidents, just furthers the belief that our daughters and sisters or cousins on Okinawa are easy targets and future victims of a US Military, that speaks out of both sides of their mouth.

Promises are made to correct this behaviour, but no real punishment is really given.
When will this end? I can tell you:

When most of the 37 Military Bases are removed from Okinawa, and when the commanders are also arrested when thir men commit these crimes.

Kinuye Oshiro Director Japan and co-director USA