Okinawa Assembly declares there’s “burning resentment” over rape

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Okinawa’s Prefectural Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution voicing “burning resentment” against the United States and Tokyo for the rape of an Okinawan woman last week.

“Preventive measures and instructions to servicemen have become no longer functional,” the resolution says, noting that 5,747 crimes have been committed by U.S. military personnel since Okinawa was returned to Japanese control in 1972.  It called the incident, which came only weeks after the MV-22 Osprey aircraft was deployed to Okinawa over the protests of local citizens, a situation that “goes far beyond our patience and has prompted the residents here to raise voices to seek complete removal of U.S. bases in Okinawa.”

The resolution seeks strict punishment of the two sailors who allegedly raped the young woman in the early hours of October 16th.  It also demands revisions to the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.   The chairman of the Assembly, Masaharu Kina, says “our rage is indescribable, as the alleged incident took place at a time when the level of local mistrust of the U.S. military and the central government has been increased by the deployment of the Osprey transport aircraft, which is known for its track record of fatal accidents.”

The Assembly is visiting Japan’s Okinawa Defense Bureau and the American Consulate Naha to voice their displeasure, and say they’ll also contact Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s office, the Foreign Ministry and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

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