December 30, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On June 16, a “Patrolling Team for Okinawa Community Security” set up by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) in response to the assault and murder of a woman by a U.S. base employee revealed that they received 13 calls but no calls related to the U.S. military in half a year. On December 15 at the Prefectural Assembly Planning and Coordination Bureau, Director-General of the Okinawa Prefectural Police Community Safety Division Yoshiya Kajiwara made the announcement.
The Patrolling Team dispatched 20 cars initially and 100 cars after December to patrol downtown Okinawa. The patrolled hours are from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and there is no patrolling carried out late at night when many military-related incidents and accidents occur.
Regarding the patrol’s impact, Director of Police Administration Hiroshi Nakajima said, “Patrolling had a partial effect in preventing crimes and maintaining safety.”
In the meantime, incidents and accidents by U.S. military-related personnel keep occurring even though the U.S. military promised recurrence prevention and enforcement of discipline after the rape and murder of a woman by a U.S. military contractor. In June, a U.S. soldier drove the wrong way up Route 58 under the influence of alcohol and caused minor and serious injuries to two people. In September, another U.S. soldier caused a hit-and-run accident in Uruma City. In October, a U.S. soldier unleashed violence on a man walking on a street in Chatan Town. All of these crimes happened between midnight and early morning.
According to Director-General Kajiwara, the breakdown of the 13 calls to the Patrolling Team included five calls related to traffic, five related to a drunken person, two related to suspicious individuals, and one was about juvenile problems.
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)