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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 13 - 19  > Okinawans in fury over rape of minor by U.S. Marine
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2008 February 13 - 19 [US FORCES]

Okinawans in fury over rape of minor by U.S. Marine

February 13, 2008
Okinawans are filled with anger regarding the crime in which a U.S. Marine raped a 14-year-old junior high school girl in Okinawa on February 10.

The mayors of Okinawa City and Chatan Town, where the crime took place, on February 12 lodged a protest to U.S. forces and demanded apology, effective preventive measures, and severe punishment of the suspect if proven guilty.

Okinawa City Mayor Tomon Mitsuko expressed her indignation, saying that U.S. military-related crimes have occurred in succession in the city, such as a rape last October and a taxi robbery in January, the city government has repeatedly protested to the U.S. forces command and demanded that they impose tougher discipline, but nothing has been done.

Noguni Masaharu, the mayor of Chatan Town where U.S. servicemen or their family members committed crimes, including an assault against a woman in 2001 and an air-gun shooting last March, called on the U.S. military command to take into consideration the fact that the residents are frightened and have deepened their distrust, and to present drastic measures to prevent further crimes.

Arakaki Kunio, the mayor of Kitanakagusuku Village where the suspect in the recent rape case lives, expressed impatience and said, “Because crimes and accidents involving U.S. personnel continue to occur, it is crystal clear that we will be better off without military bases.”

“If not for U.S. bases,” Okinawans feel.

The suspect picked up the junior high school girl at a commercial facility housing restaurants, florists, and fancy goods stores, about 500 meters away from the second gate of the U.S. Kadena Air Base. It is said that a fashion show was taking place at the facility’s central square. Many U.S. soldiers go out into the town at weekends.

A 25-year-old woman who works at a bar near the site said, “As a woman, I feel scared. This crime reminds me of the gang rape of an elementary school girl 13 years ago. I want the rapist to be severely punished.”

“I am really fed up with this. As long as U.S. bases exist, this will never end,” said Nakama Yoshishige who has run a pharmacy in Okinawa City for more than 20 years.
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