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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 February 13 - 19  > We condemn atrocity committed by U.S. Marine against schoolgirl
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2008 February 13 - 19 [US FORCES]

We condemn atrocity committed by U.S. Marine against schoolgirl

February 13, 2008
Akahata editorial

Another rape of a schoolgirl by a U.S. Marine occurred in Okinawa. We strongly condemn the perpetrator and the U.S. forces.

The incident rekindled memories of three U.S. Marines' gang-rape in 1995 of a schoolgirl in Okinawa. Following that incident, the U.S. forces promised to tighten military discipline and increase education of U.S. servicemen in the effort to avoid the recurrence of such incidents. However, the recent incident gives proof that such crimes cannot be eliminated unless the U.S. forces are removed. The Japanese government says it calls for stricter U.S. military discipline to be applied and measures for the prevention of U.S. military crimes, but it falls short of protecting public security. It is essential to seek to get rid of the U.S. bases, the main source of such crimes.

Crimes will be repeated as long as U.S. bases continue to exist

Okinawa City Police arrested a U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant who is stationed at U.S. Camp Courtney on February 11 on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl and turned him over to the prosecutors the following day.

The U.S. Marine is suspected of approaching the girl when she was in Okinawa City with two friends. He offered her a ride home, but he took her to his apartment.

Police say that when the girl ran away from fear, he chased her by car, pushed her into his car, and raped her. She was chased and raped by the robust U.S. Marine for three hours. Her terror is beyond imagination.

It is natural that Okinawans, who have been forced to endure the burden of U.S. bases, are enraged by the crime.

Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu said, “This must never be condoned.” Okinawa City Mayor Tomon Mitsuko also said, “Such an act against a child must not be condoned.”

The U.S. military presence entails crimes. U.S. soldiers commit serious crimes no matter where they are stationed. This is a source of fear that the general public has about the stationing of U.S. forces nearby. The truth is that you cannot eliminate U.S. military crimes where there are U.S. bases.

In the case of Japan, and in particular Okinawa, there are more problems.

In the U.S. forces, recruits are taught that U.S. forces shed blood when it occupied Okinawa during World War II. No one can deny that such education fosters their thinking that they are the “occupiers” of Okinawa and that it also encourages them to commit serious crimes in Okinawa.

If in the United States a schoolgirl was chased and pushed into a car to be raped, it would really be scandalous. However, in Okinawa, soldiers feel that they are free to do anything they want.

Note that the recent crime was committed again by a U.S. Marine. The likelihood of serious crimes committed by U.S. Marines is attributable to the inherent character of the U.S. Marines.

The U.S. Marines are a first strike force in war, and they can be ordered at anytime to go to Iraq or Afghanistan or any other hotspot. It is unavoidable for them to become emotionally unstable.

It is also a fact that the unusual privileges that U.S. forces are given under the Status of Forces Agreement can be a source of the serious crimes being committed repeatedly.

Bases must be removed without delay

If the Japanese government continues to host the U.S. military presence in Japan, it is impossible to eradicate U.S. soldiers’ crimes.

The Japanese Communist Party Okinawa Prefectural Committee immediately requested that the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement be revised and that U.S. Marines be removed from Okinawa. Dismantling all U.S. bases is the quickest way to ensure public security.

The Japanese government must stop the plan to allow U.S. military bases to exist permanently through realignment schemes and take steps to remove all U.S. bases in response to Okinawan’s earnest demands.
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