Soldiers pour into main streets after period of mourning for US forces on Okinawa

Soldiers pour into main streets after period of mourning for US forces on Okinawa

U.S. military personnel gathered together on Gate 2 Street in Okinawa City at 10:15 p.m. on July 2.

July 3, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

July 2 was the first weekend after the end of a period of mourning imposed on U.S. forces in Okinawa following the suspected rape and murder of a woman by a U.S. military contract employee who is a former U.S. marine. During the period of mourning U.S. forces banned its personnel from drinking alcohol and going outside of the bases. The day the ban was lifted, many soldiers flocked into Gate 2 Street in Okinawa City in front of Kadena Air Base.

Some soldiers mourned the death of the woman, saying regretfully, that no one can not take her back. Most soldiers welcomed the lift of the ban.

A woman who works at a bar along the street said, “The number of customers connected to the U.S. military has been increasing a little bit. Not all of them are bad people. It is not right that one criminal case has become a controversial issue concerning all the U.S. bases.” One restaurant owner said, “We welcome the lift of the ban on drinking alcohol.”

“Honestly, I don’t want U.S. soldiers to come out to the streets. I think it is better to have no U.S. bases. But, Koza (current Okinawa City) has long been in coexistence with the bases,” one passerby said.
“I was born here, and has chosen to live here. Recently I have begun to think about a less complicated way to view the situation.”

Some soldiers and civilian personnel declined to answer questions from the reporter. However, some expressed their mourning for the victim.

A 21-year-old soldier, who was assigned to Camp Hansen about a month ago, welcomed the lift of the ban and spoke frankly. “A foolish man committed a crime,” he said, “We must be careful of our own behavior. If someone commits such crime, all the service members will have to receive the same punishment.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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