U.S. base worker should face up to his crime in court


November 17, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


The incident was a tragic one in which the life of a 20-year old woman with a bright future ahead of her was stolen away.

Although it is the right of the defendant, his exercise of the right to remain silent is difficult to accept.



A former U.S. Marine and then-military contractor, defendant Kenneth Franklin Shinzato (formerly Gadson) stands accused of murder and other crimes on the charge of raping and killing a female office worker in Uruma City in April of last year.

His trial with a jury began at the Naha District Court.


The defendant denied the charge of murder, stating in the arraignment that he did not intend to kill the woman.

He plead guilty to the charges of rape resulting in death and disposal of a body.


In the later defendant questioning, the defendant exercised his right to remain silent.

He should at least apologize to the victim and her family.

Even more than one year after the incident, it is obvious that the defendant feels no remorse.


In February of this year, in a letter sent to Stars and Stripes, the quasi-official newspaper of the U.S. military, the defendant stated that because under the Japanese legal system rape-related crimes require an official complaint from the victim to be prosecuted and rates of reporting sexual assault are rare in Japan, he had no fear of being arrested.


He might as well be saying that it’s fine to do anything he wants as long as he is not arrested for it. The defendant’s decision to exercise the right to remain silent likely stems from his lack of law-abiding spirit and consciousness of human rights.


If it is not determined that a defendant had an intent to kill, killing another human being is not charged as murder.

If the defendant is charged just with rape resulting in death, he will face only a temporary sentence instead of a life sentence.

If this is why the defendant denied intent to kill and chose to remain silent, it is outrageous.


The defendant should give a proper answer to the question, “Why my daughter? Why did she have to be killed?” for which the victim’s father sought clarity in his messages and writings.


The defendant assaulted a woman to satisfy his own desires, and he robbed her of her future.

He should be keenly aware of his responsibility to squarely face that fact.

His duty is not to try to protect himself, but to reveal the truth and apologize.


The prosecutors assert that the defendant had an intent to kill because he stabbed the victim several times in the neck.

He prepared a suitcase to carry her body and changed his clothes at a hotel after the crime, indicating that the crime was planned.


The assertions of the prosecution and the defense are at odds, and the jurors should accurately determine the defendant’s intent to kill.


The defendant shows little consciousness of having committed a crime, having stated in writing that the woman was at fault for being where she was at that time.

We hope for a ruling that the family of the deceased can accept.


Many Okinawans were heartbroken by the tragedy of a woman whose future was stolen away and by the deep sorrow of her family.

Such a tragic incident must never happen again.

As the victim’s father states, the effective measure to prevent reoccurrence is to remove the bases as soon as possible.


This incident hit home the fact that because of the presence of U.S. bases, anyone might become a victim.

The government should wake up to its grave responsibility for continually failing to remedy the situation.


(English translation by T&CT)


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