Saturday, March 01, 2008

Okinawa Rape Case Worried Guam Activists

New Okinawa rape case worries Guam activists

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff

THE activist group Chamoro Nation has renewed its call for the removal of the U.S. bases on Guam following a new rape incident involving a U.S. serviceman in Okinawa.

"We the Chamoru people of Guam are appalled by the continuing indecent behavior of violence such as the rape of yet another child in Okinawa by members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Our sincerest and heartfelt sympathy goes out to this poor child, her family and the entire Okinawan community," the Chamoru nation said in a statement of solidarity with the Japanese community.

The latest rape case against, filed by a Filipino woman who accused an American soldier of sexually attacking her in an Okinawa hotel, came following the arrest of 38-year-old Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, who was charged with raping a 14-year-old girl in Okinawa.

The series of rape cases involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces has sparked outrage in Japan, which is host to some 50,000 U.S. troops under a security treaty.

"This horrendous attack along with the past acts of violence by U.S. service members further instills our belief that the transfer of these so-called 'family orientated' soldiers to Guam will severely and adversely impact the well-being and safety of our island community causing us to live constantly in a state of fear and oppression, as it has done to all outside the bases in Okinawa and throughout our region," the Chamorro Nation said.

The tensions in Japan have been exacerbated by allegations of additional less serious crimes by American troops. Japanese leaders have deplored the behavior and accused the U.S. military of lax discipline.

"The courageous stance taken by the people of Okinawa to protect their families from the ruthlessness of these monstrous, uncaring and vicious people is clearly the only solution to insuring their safety," according to statement from Chamorro Nation, the most vocal anti-military bases group in Guam.

Though Guam is generally receptive to the military expansion plan for the island, a handful of activists and women senators have repeatedly expressed concerns about the social impact of the relocation of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa.

Debbie Quinata, maga'haga of Chamorro Nation, said her group stands in firm solidarity with the people of Okinawa in calling for the removal of all U.S. bases and their soldiers from Okinawa.

"We further call for their removal from Guam, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines returning to their country, the United States of America," the statement said.

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