July 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 2, in Naha City, the group Pokinawa (Positive Campaign Okinawa), which aims to overcome differences in opinion through dialogue, held a presentation to discuss plans to prevent crimes by U.S. military in light of the rape and murder of an Okinawan woman by a U.S. military civilian worker in April last year.
The group presented four plans, including the establishment of a permanent organization through which the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the U.S. military on Okinawa will consult regularly on crime prevention measures.
About 60 people, including citizens and experts, participated in the meeting and deepened understanding after exchanging opinions on the plans.
In addition to establishing a permanent organization, the plans include; (1) providing Okinawan culture education programs to U.S. military personnel and care programs to U.S. military veterans; (2) promoting mutual understanding through exchanges between citizens and U.S. military personnel; (3) removing U.S. military bases and transforming them into hubs to promote sports and culture.
Michiko Oshiro, a member of the group, which gave the presentation on the establishment of a permanent consultation organization, pointed out that the current consultative meeting consisting of the prefectural government, the central government and U.S. forces on Okinawa, had so far failed to prevent crimes. She added, “the prefectural government should be deeply involved in making and operating incident prevention measures, without leaving it entirely up to the central government and U.S. forces.”
According to the Pokinawa, the group will request that the prefectural government and the prefectural assembly set up the establishment of a permanent consultation organization.
(English translation by T&CT)