Citizen group protests assault by U.S. Marine

August 19 & 21, 2012 Compiled from reports in Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 18, police arrested a 21 year-old U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Butler, on suspicion of assaulting a woman in Naha. A police spokesperson said that the victim needed a week to recover from the head injury that she suffered in the assault. The suspect has denied the charge, stating that he was merely trying to help the woman who had collapsed on the road.

In the morning, the suspect is said to have pulled the woman to the ground from behind in a residential area and committed an indecent act on her in an alley. Residents heard her scream and rushed to the scene, but the suspect had fled. Police later apprehended him about 300 meters away from the scene of the assault.

On August 20, citizen groups held a rally to voice their anger about the incident. Many people participated in the rally held in front of Camp Zukeran, in Kitanakagusuku. Masaru Shiroma a leader of the Heiwa Shimin Renrakukai (Citizens Coalition for Peace, Okinawa) said, “In the modern history of Okinawa the military has trampled on the human rights of many women. This is something that we have protested about many times. The U.S. military has promised to enforce strict discipline on its personnel, but incidents like this continue to occur. This is essentially what the military are like.”

At the press conference held at the Okinawa Prefectural Office the members of the Okinawan Women Act Against Military Violence voiced their discontent and called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. They demanded that the U.S. military apologize to the victim and provide physical and psychological care for her, as well as severely punishing the assailant. About the deployment of the Osprey aircraft they said that continued military presence is a threat to the safety of the people and that they should leave Okinawa.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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