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Request to U.S. military in response to indecent assault in Okinawa signed by 34 civic groups

  • February 17, 2021
  • , Ryukyu Shimpo , p. 31
  • JMH Translation

Suzuyo Takazato, co-leader of a civic group called “women who take action and do not accept bases and military,” and others held a press conference at the prefectural government office on Feb. 16 in response to the rearrest on Feb. 11 of a U.S. Marine Corps member on suspicion of indecent assault. Takazato disclosed a written request for the protection of the victims’ privacy, apologies to the victims, and restrictions on activities outside the base.

 

The document states that “violence against women continues because the military is concentrated in Okinawa” and requests the following: 1) Protection of the victims’ privacy, apologies to the victims, and provision of mental support to the victims; 2) Enforcement of strict disciplinary action to those who committed the offenses; 3) Restrictions on activities outside the bases; 4) Fundamental revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement based on the Japanese Constitution; 5) Prompt withdrawal of the U.S. military from Okinawa. The document was signed by 34 groups including Takazato’s and addressed to the U.S. President, the Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Tokyo, the Okinawa Area Coordinator for the U.S. Forces Japan, the Prime Minister, Chief Cabinet Secretary, and the Okinawa governor.

 

When Okinawa Prefecture lodged a protest on Feb. 12, Colonel Neil Owens, director of Marine Corps Installation Pacific Government and External Affairs, emphasized that “the majority of Marines observe the rules and abide by the liberty regulations.” Takazato commented that the response did not reflect “determination to protect the environment and rights of the people in Okinawa.” Takazato also said, “What disciplinary actions are taken against those who break the rules? The repeated incidents show that the military’s response is not consistent.”

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