Prefectural Assembly adopts protest resolution over rape by U.S. sailors, stating that this is beyond the limit of people’s patience

October 22, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 22, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly held a special meeting in which it unanimously passed a protest resolution and accepted a written statement of opinion regarding the case in which two U.S. navy sailors have been charged with the rape of an Okinawan woman. In addition to a radical revision of the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement and a full apology and compensation to victims, for the first time, the assembly requested that the governments of the United States and Japan move to return all U.S. bases in Okinawa, without identifying the name of any individual facility.

After their meeting, in order to lodge their protest, members of the Special Committee on the U.S. Military Base Relations of the Assembly visited the Okinawa Defense Bureau, the Okinawa Liaison Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa.

On October 23, in Tokyo, representatives from each political faction of the Prefectural Assembly protested to the Japanese government and U.S. military officials. Their protest resolution and statement of written opinion will go to the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Defense Minister, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Commander of U.S. forces in Japan and the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan.

In the protest resolution the Assembly criticized the U.S. military for measures it has taken, pointing out that “U.S. forces’ efforts to prevent recurrences of incidents and the education of military personnel are no longer effective.”
Considering that the rape occurred just when there is a growing upswell of opinion against the Osprey deployment among the Okinawa people, the Assembly stated that the situation “far exceeded the limit of residents’ patience, and also call for a full withdrawal of the bases.” In the written statement of opinion and the protest resolution, the Assembly has requested the reduction of U.S. bases in Okinawa and the return of land used by the U.S. military in the prefecture.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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