Member of the U.S. military belonging to Futenma Air Station deserts

November 22 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Military Base Affairs Division of the Okinawa Prefectural Government has reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan that one of the military personnel based at Futenma Air Station has deserted. It would seem that this person has not yet been apprehended.

According to the division, the U.S. military confirmed on November 9 that the person had deserted and U.S. Forces Japan (UFJ) reported this to the ministry on November 16. The Governors’ Association for Military Facilities in Japan reported this to the Okinawa Prefectural Government on November 20, and the prefectural government informed the relevant municipal governments the following day.

In an attempt to implement preventive measures, UFJ placed a curfew on all their military personnel in Japan following the alleged rape of a woman by two U.S. sailors in October. However, in November, a heavily intoxicated airman broke into an apartment and punched a teenage boy in Yomitan, and a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant trespassed in a room of a building in Naha. These incidents, and this case of desertion could make Okinawan people further criticize the ineffectiveness of the U.S. military’s preventive measures and their enforcement of the law to stop a recurrence of such incidents.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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