Yomitan mayor calls curfew too lenient

The curfew imposed last fall on American service personnel following the rape of a young Okinawan woman isn’t doing much good, in the eyes of a local mayor.

The mayor of Yomitan, Denjitsu Ishimine, says the military’s tactics are not strong enough, but too lenient, in fact.  That’s led him to file a protest this past week with the Foreign Ministry demanding more action be taken.  “I doubt that effective checking functions are in place,” he says, and “it has been simply left to individual service members whether they straighten themselves out.”

Statistics show law enforcement agencies had to take action against American military members in 29 criminal cases in November and December, well above the monthly average for the year, which totaled 118 cases.  At least four cases came in the aftermath of the curfew imposed October 19th.  In three of the incidents, the curfew was violated.

One of the cases involved a drunken airman from Kadena Air Base who, in Ishimine’s community, entered a home and punched a sleeping junior high school student.  The 24-year-old airman was injured while trying to flee from the third floor apartment.  The airman lived off base.

Some 15,000 American servicemen live off base, and that’s enough, says the Yomitan mayor, to cause problems.  He notes street patrols have not been an effective deterrent, noting the only thing base gate security guards can do is observe service members coming and going.  Reducing and consolidating the number of bases, says lawyer Toshio Ikemiyagi, is the only way to reduce incidents.  He says there are too many American GI’s in Japan, and too many U.S. bases located too close to residential areas.

A bar owner says some serU.S. bases located too close to residential areas.gi, is the only way to reduce incidents.  He says thvice members get in trouble after failing to return to base before curfew, and have to kill time until they can legally return in the morning.  That, he says, leads to inappropriate acts.  The Navy has said curfew violators face disciplinary action that could lead to demotions, but the bar owner says the Navy does not check to see which service members are off base after curfew.

  • Dale Yamaguchi

    useless article

    • http://twitter.com/mwduncan Ⓜark

      Useless comment

  • WaychulDon

    How would this mayor feel if the U.S. military just placed all of Yomitan off limits for off-base housing, shopping, etc.? To and from Torri, but the rest off limits. Is obvious he doesn’t like Amercans, so why should we transfer our tax dollars on overpriced rental houses in Yomitan?

    • http://twitter.com/mwduncan Ⓜark

      His political motivations aside, he has a point though. The curfew really hasn’t been all that effective and it’s hardly enforced.

      • Dale Yamaguchi

        Is this a fact? Site your sources. Please spare us your opinions.

        • http://twitter.com/mwduncan Ⓜark

          Look in the papers at all the incidents that are happening after the curfew. Take a drive around some time and you don’t have to look hard for people out around bars past the curfew. Go through the gates in the middle of the night and notice how little the people checking IDs care. At least on the Air Force side, there is no one going through the dorms checking to make sure people are where they are supposed to be (some USMC units make you check your liberty card out with whoever is on barracks duty to keep track). It’s all talk and people aren’t taking it seriously. There are some that are respecting it and good on them for that, but there’s is still a significant portion of younger guys who just DGAF.

          • Bill

            Speak for the Air Force … The Marines are vigilantly conducting random breathalyzers, liberty card checks and increased shore patrols. Marines are taking it seriously, as nobody wants to be “That guy”, that is called out in front of his command for doing the wrong thing,

          • Kate

            ^ Second that, Kadena does breathalyzers once in a while but the marines are doing it every single night once it gets dark! And I live a BLOCK ONE BLOCK away from the apartment where an airman intruded the third floor after staying at the first floor bar, I do not want that stuff happening around my home. I dont think cutting bases is doable but I think the least the bases can do is to offer better entertainment and social areas for service members, I have been around to the lounges/bars and no wonder why they go off base even though they are not supposed too!

  • tommy.john@americablejapan.net

    Does the man want tougher curfews or just to be rid of Americans? Why complain about the policy when ANY policy will not be satisfactory?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=827361161 Terrance Lenard Askew

      Agreed..

  • http://www.facebook.com/larry.muse.9 Larry Muse

    funny we don’t read to much about other
    nationalities committing crimes on Okinawa. Could it be that the goal is to rid
    Americans from the island so tourism can flourish?? The bases can be turned into
    exclusive tourism facilities etc.,~

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=827361161 Terrance Lenard Askew

    Ⓜark you still failed to produce any evidence other than trite observation. And i qoute…

    “Take a drive around some time and you don’t have to look hard for people out around bars past the curfew”

    Firstly, how do you even know those people arent tourist or foreigners on resident visa status?
    Why is it your concern what this curfew does or dosent bring to the island?

    • http://twitter.com/mwduncan Ⓜark

      1. I didn’t realize I was under any obligation to produce evidence. The amount of incidents that have made the papers should be evidence enough.

      2. I think if someone has a “high and stupid” hair cut and hanging out near a base, it’s pretty safe to assume that person is in the military. I don’t see many foreign visitors trying to make themselves look like they are in the military.

      3. I never said anything about what the curfew does or doesn’t bring to the island. I only stated that the curfew isn’t enforced as strictly as it could be and some people DGAF about it.

      Why are _you_ so concerned about this when you aren’t even in Okinawa?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=827361161 Terrance Lenard Askew

    Anywho my point is that no curfew will ever be strong enough in this situation. With as large of a prescense on okinawa that their is, its nearly impossible to enforce OUTSIDE of the barracks or base.

    If anything what really needs to change is the approach to disciplines and actions regarding individual cases. I support the idea to punish the individual responsible for the crimes. I support the idea that base leaders should take a more personal approach to punitive action that goes beyond whats been done…

    Why do i say this. Because just look at the track record going back to 95-96 timeframe. Nothing changes. And most people do not understand why it dosent change…

    Most people are forgetting that the military members on island rotate out every 2-4 years on average. An old bunch can leave, and another fresh bunch who knows little about the past problems and impact it has had, comes to the island. And after a while, and even with briefings to the new personnel on previous incidents, they fall into doing the same thing..Why? because they fail to comprehend the impact in a larger sense…

    All they hear is….Do bad, get in trouble. Do bad, you make the military look bad….Do bad, fuck up your career. I mean seriously ive been to briefings just like this and they lack impact. Lack commitment to the individual to care about why any of those things will happen..

    If the base commander of kadena could read my comments right now i wish he would because i do also have to say this.
    If i were in his shoes, and had people in my chain of command under me, doing stupid shit. I wont give them paperwork. I wont put them under curfew…

    No no…I want them to work hard to show that they arent fuckups..I want them to show the base community and the local community that the military isnt just full of fuck-ups who dont know a thing about commitment and accountability…

    I would work them, on the weekends for 6 months. Community service. Serving the base community and then working out in the local community..Picking up trash, walking dogs, volunteering with local agencies just to show the local community and the individual that they can have a better impact than just coming to okinawa, getting drunk, doing stupid shit et cetera…

    And the local community will know that military members do have a commitment to their service and to the civilian population that transcends a persons own individual military career…

    I dont see a point to destroy a persons career because they fucked up. I dont see a point to make an example or a martyr..I do see the need to guide our military members out of a problem area in their career and down a more concious path where they stand to learn a lesson….Not saying that it should be easy…

    But it would at least show that we as military members are doing more than what has been done…For the community, the image of our service and i feel, most importantly to the individual who caused all the ruckus to begin with..

    • http://twitter.com/mwduncan Ⓜark

      I can agree with that. The curfew isn’t really about punishing the military though. It’s more political and has to do with easing tensions with the local communities after a series of major screw-ups. When there’s regular protests going on outside the gates and blocking traffic, the decision-makers have to do something to appease them and get them to back off. There’s unfortunately no easy way to fix this and it’s a cycle that will continue to repeat every few years sadly.