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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 17 - 23  > Okinawa JCP protests against murder of Okinawan woman by US sailor
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2019 April 17 - 23 [US FORCES]

Okinawa JCP protests against murder of Okinawan woman by US sailor

April 18, 2019

The Japanese Communist Party Okinawa Prefectural Committee on April 16 lodged with the Okinawa Defense Bureau a protest against a murder that occurred in Chatan Town three days earlier in which a U.S. sailor belonging to U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab committed suicide after killing an Okinawan woman.

The JCP demanded that the defense bureau revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and urge the U.S. military to improve its guidelines for off-duty activities of U.S. military personnel. The bureau explained that it already requested the U.S. forces to tighten discipline and fully cooperate with police investigations, but refused to make positive responses to the JCP demand concerning off duty activity rules and the SOFA.

On the following day, JCP Dietmember Akamine Seiken took up this case at a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. In response to Akamine’s question, a Foreign Affairs Ministry official said that the sailor in question was prohibited from having contact with the victim under a Military Protection Order from the commander.

MPOs are given to U.S. military personnel suspected of domestic violence or stalking.

Akamine also referred to the current guidelines in regard to off-duty activities of U.S. military personnel, which include night-time curfew. He noted that according to the guidelines, petty officers 3rd class and lower-ranking servicepersons are not allowed to go offbase between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. However, Akamine pointed out, the offender, who was a petty officer 3rd class, reportedly committed the crime between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. in the local town. He stated that the activity guidelines are full of loopholes and not effective in preventing U.S. military-related crimes. Akamine demanded a thorough investigation into the murder case and measures to prevent a recurrence.

Past related articles:
> 1953 Japan-US secret deal condones 80% of crimes committed by US military personnel in Japan [August 9, 2018]
> Okinawans protest alleged murder of Japanese woman by ex-US marine [May 21, 2016]
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